Tuesday 24 April 2018

'My daughter demanding WiFi access at bedtime helped save us from dryer fire'

Patrick Durand receiving treatment for smoke inhalation
Patrick Durand receiving treatment for smoke inhalation

Brett Campbell

The father of a teenage girl who demanded WiFi access at bedtime says his family would have perished in a house fire if she had have taken no for an answer.

French ex-pat Patrick Durand (51) was tucked up in bed with his wife Sandra (51) at 11.30pm on Tuesday in their Portadown home. He had gone to bed early in preparation for returning to work after a skiing holiday.

But his daughter Alexandra woke her dad up asking him to go and explore why her internet connection had been lost.

"I was absolutely knackered and only opened one eye to tell her to wait until the morning - but she was quite persistent," he said. "I'm so glad I got up because all three of us would have died."

After going downstairs Patrick became concerned by "a light burning smell".

"The more I looked around I could start to see thin smoke - it was coming through the walls where the cables run into the garage," Patrick explained.

"I thought something had overheated and tripped the plug sockets."

When the engineer opened the garage door in his search of a screwdriver he was confronted with flames and thick black smoke from his five-month-old tumble dryer - it had been on standby since it was used at 5pm.

"I couldn't see anything except the flames so my wife called 999," he said.

"The burning plastic from the tumble dryer was dripping onto the washing machine below and in the end I ran to get a fire extinguisher which I always keep in the car. As soon as the flames went out it was pitch black and I was suffocating on a lot of smoke."

Fire and ambulance crews arrived a short time later and treated the father-of-three for smoke inhalation.

Mr Durand said he dreads to think what might have been if the fire on the appliance had really caught alight. His eldest daughter had been in the house while the rest of the family were away on their skiing holiday. "Now I won't even leave a phone charger plugged in. I want people to understand how dangerous it is leaving plugs in," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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