Flats evacuated after East Ayrshire cafe fire

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Working alarm draws attention to fire in kitchen.

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Firefighters tackled a blaze in East Ayrshire after flames took hold within the kitchen of a ground floor café in the early hours of Monday 23 December.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews responded to reports of smoke coming from the Avenue Square property and alarms activating.

An SFRS spokesperson explained: “We received a 999 call from a member of the public shortly after midnight and Operations Control immediately mobilised three appliances from Stewarton, Dreghorn and Kilmarnock.

“Crews arrived within five minutes to find the ground floor commercial premises well-alight, but all people were accounted for and the flats on the above floors were evacuated.

“Six firefighters entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and equipped with high pressure water jets: One team extinguished the fire in the ground floor café while two other teams checked the homes above.

“Thankfully no-one was hurt in this incident, which clearly shows the vital need for every property to be protected by working smoke alarms.

“By quickly alerting people to the danger, a working alarm gave residents the time they needed to get out and call us out.

“Whether it’s a commercial property or a home, fires often start in the kitchen and quickly spread to other parts of a building – causing massive damage and posing a serious threat to life.

“Working smoke alarms save lives. Our crews have experience of many fires where working smoke alarms drew attention to the danger before toxic smoke, heat and flames caused injury or death.”

As Christmas approaches SFRS is eager for the public to take action to protect themselves and those around them from fire within the home.

There are more house fires in December and January than at any other time of year, but those called to tackle these incidents know many tragedies could have been prevented if people had taken simple precautions.

Around 60 per cent of accidental house fires are caused by cooking appliances and the risk is magnified over the festive season, when many people will be under the influence of alcohol.

Cooking appliances should never be left unattended while they are in use, and firefighters are clear – alcohol and cooking are a potentially lethal combination.

Public awareness of fire risks has undoubtedly increased and more properties than ever are now protected by working smoke alarms, but SFRS knows fire is a constant threat the public need to help prevent.

More than 56,000 free home fire safety visits were conducted in Scotland over the past year, and firefighters want the public to help them reach members of our communities who are most at risk.

Anyone who keeps an eye on a vulnerable relative, friend or neighbour can make a real difference – potentially saving their life – by putting them in touch with SFRS.

To join Scotland's fight against fire and arrange a free home fire safety visit, where local crews share potentially life-saving tips to prevent fire in the home, call the SFRS freephone number 0800 0731 999 or contact your local fire station.