Fire fighters have praised a Torrington father-of-two for his quick thinking after a smoke detector alerted him to a fire in his kitchen.

If it weren’t for the alarm sounding at around 5am this morning (Thursday), it could have been an entirely different story for the Young family.

But father-of-two Mark Young, 33, was able to put out the fire in the fridge-freezer before it spread while his wife Leanne, 27, and sons Rhilie, nine, and Joey, four, got out of the house.

Mark said living in a converted barn with a lot of timber and cladding, it had always been a fear of his that a fire could spread quickly in the property.

“But for it to actually happen and to hear the fire fighters say if it wasn’t for the fire alarms it would be a different scenario; it puts it into perspective,” he said.

“I got woken up by the alarm in a daze and came running down the stairs to find everywhere was full of smoke.

“I went into the kitchen and couldn’t see any flames, but as I looked around I saw an orange glow by the fridge.

“I shouted up to Leanne to get the kids out; I ran across the yard to get an extinguisher and in the 20 seconds it took me the thing had ignited.”

A fire crew from Torrington attended the scene and moved the fridge-freezer into the garden, but luckily Mark had extinguished the flames and it had not spread.

Station manager Graham Rooke, who attended, said it highlighted the importance of having a working smoke detector.

“Smoke alarms do save lives and it’s important that you have them in your home,” he said.

“There is a lot of insultation at the back of a fridge-freezer and if that catches fire it can give off very toxic smoke and can spread quite quickly.

“The smoke detector allowed Mark to get down and deal with the fire effectively before it got into the insulation.”

Leanne said she was proud of Mark for acting so quickly, and pleased that the fire service will be making a home safety visit for free to talk to the boys about what to do in a fire.

“I think it’s important for them as well as for us,” she said.

Mark added: “We’ve all done it where you’re cooking and it starts smoking and you take the battery out of the smoke alarm and forget to put it back in again.

“Well, never, ever again. We’re very lucky and it’s really hit home how important smoke alarms are.”

Anyone who would like a free home safety check can call 0800 0502 999.