Cellar Fire at 32 Aldrens Lane

We had a fire in our cellar at 32 Aldrens Lane on the 04/JAN/2009.
The local paper had the following to say:

Cellar fire in Skerton

Published Date: 05 January 2009
FAULTY electrical equipment caused a fire in a cellar at a house in Aldrens Lane, Skerton, on Sunday evening.

Fire crews were called out to the mid-terraced house just before 8.30pm, and used breathing apparatus to enter the house and extinguish the blaze.

No one was injured in the incident. An occupier had been in a first floor bedroom when he heard a bang from downstairs.

As he investigated the noise a smoke detector in the hallway activated due to the smoke travelling up the stairs.

The occupant raised the alarm, and escaped the property along with a second adult and a small child.

The cellar and contents were severely damaged by the effects of the fire and both the ground and first floor was severely damaged by smoke.

My memories of the event are similar:

I had finished reading Leon one of his new Thomas the Tank Engine Train Stories, however unfortunately it had the effect of making me more sleepy than him. I went to lie down while Kathryn read him another. Nathan was doing some DIY next door and I could hear some light hammering on the wall. Then there was a very loud bang followed by another. I had dozed off and had been dreaming about the ceiling tiles in the kitchen being covered in flames. I had also been dreaming of the bonfire we had attended in Dronfield a number of years ago. My first thought was that the bangs were fireworks, rockets to match the bonfire I had been dreaming about. I woke a little and wondered if it had been Nathan. I got out of bed and went to investigate. I heard the fire alarm, and saw that Kathryn had come from Leon’s room to see what the noise was. I ventured down the stairs. Before I had reached the bottom the smoke was at my eye level and visibility had reduced to almost zero. It was only when I reached the bottom of the stairs that I became alarmed. I could feel that the floor wasn’t right. The floor was uneven under my feet. I turned and went back up the stairs to Kathryn and Leon. I decided that we needed to get both of them outside. My concern was that with the floor unsafe at the bottom of the stairs there was no way to get out of the property; both the front door and the back door only accessible through the hallway.

I went down and tested the hallway floor again. It tested as solid enough although there was still too much smoke to determine what was making it uneven. Kathryn had wrapped Leon in a blanket and we got them both out the front door and into the front garden. The neighbours from both sides were already at the front of the house and we asked that one of them ring the fire department, which they duly did.

The local fire department were very good and arrived very promptly. The event was recorded as Incident No. 405.

Kathryn went and sat with the neighbours in No. 34, where they were entertained with Shrek and Pocahontas, made warm and given drinks.

I tried to talk with the fire crew and to answer any questions that they had. I ventured back into the property a number of times after the fire had been put out. They used industrial fans to blow smoke out of the property. They also spent a long time attempting to determine the origin of the fire.

I left briefly to get warm in No. 30 and was given hot coffee and welcomed and reassured. They offered us the opportunity to sleep there and initially I thought Kathryn and I would be better sleeping in our own room at 32 naively assuming it wouldn’t be too bad upstairs.

Although the fire was contained in the cellar the smoke has permeated every room in the house damaging all of our belongings. My main PC was on at the time of the incident and although the was only a thin covering of smoke and debris on the outside of the case, because the fans were on they have sucked in lots of smoke and soot and the inside is thick black. I daren’t turn it on for fear of causing further damage to the hard drives.

On the first night our neighbours at 30 put all three of us up in their spare room and made us very very welcome. They made up a bed specially for Leon and brought him warm milk and let him borrow one of their daughter’s stories to settle him before sleep. They were truly amazing.

They have a bed which is up a ladder and positioned just inches from the ceiling. I was strange to sleep so high up, especially when we have such a low bed. I didn’t even dare read my book for fear of it falling out and conking Leon on the head!

Other than that first night we have been living in the Premier Inn ever since the Incident. Breakfasts are good but I am kinda fed up of eating out for our evening meal. I’ll add more late and revise this post.

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