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Baby's Screams Save Family from Flat Blaze

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Evening Telegraph: An 11-month-old baby's cries alerted a Dundee family as fire ripped through their flat today.

The parents were asleep in a bedroom as flames engulfed the living room where the baby was sleeping in his cot.

Crew manager Alan Park, from Kingsway fire station, said the fire was caused by an unattended tealight candle, which had been left directly on top of a wooden fire surround.

He said, "The baby started screaming and the father rushed through from the bedroom, grabbed the baby and the family ran from the smoke-logged flat just before 3am.

"The bottom of the tealight candle is metal and they're not safe."

He said tealights should be placed on a ceramic surface. In this case, the flame burned through to the wooden fireplace and set it alight.

Crew manager Park continued, "(The flames) spread and by the time we got there it was a well-established fire. The baby saved the family from what would have been horrific consequences.

"The living room was gutted. The flames had gone through the plasterboard and there was only half of a wooden internal door left."

The boy was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics at the scene, but did not require hospital treatment.

The blaze broke out on the top-floor flat of a three-storey block in Mill o' Mains shortly before 3am, forcing residents -- including the child's family -- to evacuate the building.

Firefighters used one hose reel and six sets of breathing apparatus to extinguish the flames.

The smell of smoke was still strong throughout the property when the Tele visited today, and there was visible smoke damage to the exterior of the building and the stairwell.

Another resident of the block said she had also had to briefly leave her home during the incident, but her flat had not been damaged.

Crew manager Park added, "Our advice with candles is to only use them in a non-combustible container, preferably ceramic, and site them away from inflammable materials and away from children.

"The whole thing would have been prevented in the first place and a working smoke alarm would have alerted the family a lot quicker.

"Tayside Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety visits for every single home in Tayside. We can fit smoke alarms and give advice on all aspects of fire safety, including prevention and escape routes."

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