Brave Exmouth woman saves flatmates during flat fire

PUBLISHED: 10:52 18 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 18 June 2010

THE QUICK and brave reactions of an Exmouth woman saved the lives of two of her flatmates after a fire struck their home. Giuseppe Joe-Clarke heaped praise on Michelle Evans, 21, for alerting her fellow flatmates to a fire at their flat in Imperial Road

THE QUICK and brave reactions of an Exmouth woman saved the lives of two of her flatmates after a fire struck their home.

Giuseppe Joe-Clarke heaped praise on Michelle Evans, 21, for alerting her fellow flatmates to a fire at their flat in Imperial Road in the early hours of last Friday morning, June 11.

The fire started at around 12.25am in the flat, located above the RAFA club. It is believed to have been caused by a laptop, which was left switched on, and overheated.

The laptop was positioned in a bedroom near a sofa which caught fire. Its owner was asleep at the time of the incident in the kitchen with two other housemates, including Michelle, in their bedrooms.

Mr Joe-Clarke, who also lives at the home, but was at work at the time, said: "She was incredibly brave.

"It could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for, one, the fire alarms going off and two, Michelle's reaction to it.

"She's also prevented the RAFA club from being hit as well as saving Peter and Biancca's lives."

He added: "She knew that Peter had fallen asleep on the kitchen sofa. She disregarded her own safety and risked her own life."

Mr Joe-Clarke extended his praise to the fire service for their quick response in attending the incident.

Michelle, recalling the moment she discovered the fire, said: "I got up to go to the toilet, went back to my room and the next thing I heard was the fire alarms going off.

"I ran out to wake Pete up and let Bianca know."

Firefighters, upon arrival, were told there were animals within the room on fire.

Giles White, crew commander, said animals were fortunately unharmed due to the early alarm of the incident and the modern flame retardant sofa not readily igniting.

He said: "Furniture and furnishings made since 1988 have to pass stringent ignitability characteristics; this coupled with the working fire alarm undoubtedly saved these animals and the property from extensive damage".

Firefighters used breathing apparatus, hosereels and specialist pressure ventilation fans to extinguish the blaze.

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