Firefighters used a ladder to rescue a woman and a boy after their first floor flat was engulfed by toxic smoke from a blaze in the property below.
The incident at a three-storey building in Paisley’s Stock Street began around 11:40am on Tuesday (15 December) and saw two men from the ground-floor property taken to hospital.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews were sent in response to the first of several 999 calls and it took less than four minutes for two appliances to reach the incident from Paisley Community Fire Station.
First responders arrived to find smoke billowing from the ground floor property and as they moved to rescue those trapped above a third appliance was quickly sent from Barrhead.
Watch Manager Craig Cracknell, the incident commander, said: “It was immediately very apparent that this was a serious incident and a quick rescue was essential.
“In the few short minutes it took for us to arrive the smoke from the ground floor flat had already travelled throughout the close and entered properties on the upper floors.
“The woman and boy who were trapped in the first floor property were at the window awaiting rescue, but the smoke was so thick that from the street outside I could barely see them.”
He continued: “We immediately moved to conduct a ladder rescue and they were brought straight out via the window.
“Being trapped as smoke filled their home would have certainly been a terrifying experience for them both and if they had been there for even a few minutes more then we could have seen a tragic outcome.”
All four casualties were assessed by Scottish Ambulance Service personnel at the scene. Paramedics determined the woman and boy who were rescued did not require further treatment.
The two men who were in the ground floor property when the fire struck had escaped the building prior to the arrival of the SFRS crews.
They appeared to be suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke and were taken to the Royal Alexandara Hospital by ambulance.
The fire originated at a cooker and quickly spread beyond the kitchen, with flames sweeping through the flat and sending large amounts of toxic smoke throughout the building.
Watch Manager Cracknell explained: “The heat from the fire caused a window to give way and the incoming air fanned the flames.
“Even though we arrived moments later this had already become a well-developed fire and our teams in breathing apparatus had to work hard to fight there way into the property and bring it under control.
“The flames, heat and smoke caused the near complete destruction of the flat where the fire originated and there was also significant damage to the property above.
“It shows how quickly a small fire at a cooker can spread to threaten lives and it must remind us all of the importance of doing what we can to prevent fires and the tragedies they cause.”
With most house fires beginning in the kitchen SFRS is clear on the need for people to recognise the risks and never step away from a cooker when it is use.
A moment’s distraction is all it can take for a devastating fire to start and that becomes more likely when people are under the influence of alcohol, so firefighters have urged anyone who is drinking to choose not to cook.
Where fires do start early warning is crucial – buying time for people to get to safety and for firefighters to reach anyone who is trapped.
Working smoke alarms are essential devices for every home and SFRS also encourages people to consider having a heat alarm fitted in the kitchen, as the devices provide further early warning without activating due to small amounts of cooking-related smoke.
Free home fire safety visits are available from SFRS by calling the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in an online form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.