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Ex-mayoress in blaze drama

PUBLISHED: 20:17 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 July 2010

Gutted: The fire-damaged utility room.

Gutted: The fire-damaged utility room.

A FORMER mayoress believes she is lucky to be alive after fire engulfed the ground floor of the family home.

Lisa Garrod told yesterday of how she raced to get her son and pet dog out of the Ormesby St Margaret home after fire broke out in a tumble dryer on Tuesday, shortly after 6pm.

Relieved: Former mayoress Lisa Garrod with husband Paul.

A FORMER mayoress believes she is lucky to be alive after fire engulfed the ground floor of the family home.

Lisa Garrod told yesterday of how she raced to get her son and pet dog out of the Ormesby St Margaret home after fire broke out in a tumble dryer on Tuesday, shortly after 6pm.

Mrs Garrod, 40, said daughter Katie, eight, had called to say she was sleeping at a friends that night.

“I put a load in the tumble dryer then went upstairs to pack an overnight bag for her. When I came downstairs the house was filled with smoke.”

Going into the utility room, Mrs Garrod saw thick black smoke billowing from underneath the tumble dryer.

“I opened the door and flames just shot out. My first thought was how the hell am I going to put this fire out?”

She opened the back door, then closed the door between the utility room and kitchen - something which firefighters later told her saved the house from burning down.

While dialling 999, Mrs Garrod dashed through the house to get son William, 11, who was in another downstairs room playing on the X-Box, and family pet Monty.

After getting them outside, Mrs Garrod called husband Paul, Yarmouth's mayor in 2007/08, alerting him to the fire at their home of 15 years. Mr Garrod, who had been working at the family-run Furzedown Hotel, immediately drove home and en route called his neighbour from his hands-free kit to make sure no one went back inside the house.

As he arrived, thick smoke was pouring out of the back door and Mr Garrod, 43, joined his neighbour in trying to fight the flames with garden hoses.

Two fire engines arrived on scene at about 6.30pm and red watch firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the house. Within minutes the tumble dryer and washing machine, also engulfed by fire, were removed and the fire put out.

“The firefighters were excellent,” said Mr Garrod.

The blaze, which reached a heat of up to 250 degrees, gutted the utility room and caused smoke damage throughout the downstairs of the house as well as the first floor bathroom, above the kitchen.

Mrs Garrod said she had been unaware of the dangers of tumble dryers after firefighters told her they were one of the biggest causes of house fires.

She added:“I was told never to leave the house when the tumble dryer or washing machine are on. It's scary because I'd never even thought of that.”

The couple feel fortunate not to have lost more in the fire, despite losing 20 years of homes videos which had been stored in the utility room before being transferred onto DVD.

Mr Garrod said: “The casings have burnt but the tapes look all right so we hope to be able to salvage them.”

He added: “People must be aware of the dangers of electrical appliances. If anyone is uncertain I'm sure the local fire brigade would be happy to offer advice.”

Stressing the importance of having working smoke alarms Mr Garrod said: “For the sake of £10 or even less they could save you thousands of pounds, and even lives.”


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