E-cig blamed after family driven from Northfield Road home by basement fire

An Ilfracombe woman has been speaking of how she plunged into a smoke-filled room to drag her mum to safety after a night-time fire at their home.

A smoke alarm alerted Michelle Skelton, 45, to danger just after midnight on Thursday at the house in Northfield Road.

When she opened the door to the basement flat where her mother Kathleen, 69, lived, smoke was ‘billowing’ out.

“I couldn’t get in and then I heard a scream and had no choice, so I just had to go in,” she told the Gazette.

“My mum is disabled and I had to drag her out by her arms, then we both collapsed in the hallway.”

Michelle’s son Kieron helped wrap them in a jumper and the family waited for the fire service.

Ilfracombe firefighters arrived, took the family to safety and put out the blaze.

Both had inhaled smoke and were taken to North Devon District Hospital. Michelle was released by the next day but Kathleen was in a little longer.

The fire service believes it was an e-cigarette on charge that started the fire and said the incident highlighted just how important it is to have a working smoke alarm fitted in the home.

A spokesman said e-cigarettes should not be over-charged or left unattended overnight and manufacturer’s instructions should be followed and the socket switched off when not in use.