“Please tell everyone a smoke alarm saves lives”

A FORMER UKIP candidate whose Wisbech home caught fire when his dishwasher exploded says that a smoke alarm saved his life.

Alan Lay was asleep when the alarm at his Beatrice Road bungalow went off at 2.30am on Sunday (July 22).

When he went downstairs, he discovered thick black smoke coming out of the utility room where frayed cables in the dishwasher had caused it to break down.

Terrified, he then went back into the bedroom to lead his disabled 73-year-old wife Brenda to safety before a heart-stopping moment when his land-line phone would not work to enable him to call the fire brigade.

Eventually he made the all-important 999 call on a mobile phone, at which point fire fighters came to extinguish the blaze using a jet and a hose reel and revealed that it had been caused by an electrical fault.

“I was terrified,” Mr Lay said. “I thought: ‘There goes the whole bungalow, it’s going to go up in flames.’”

He has now urged all members of the public to make sure they have a working smoke alarm at all times.

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“A smoke alarm saves lives,” he said. “It certainly saved mine.

“Many people get so fed up of it going off when they are making toast or cooking dinner that they take the batteries out.

“However if you take the batteries out, you are risking your life.”

The 75-year-old, who also praised Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service for their quick response, added that it was important people had their dishwashers serviced regularly to minimise the risk of such faults leading to a potential catastrophe.

He is now faced with replacing the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer which were damaged in the incident and possibly a fridge freezer, which was covered in smoke.

He also thinks the roof might have to be replaced due to smoke damage.