A FIRE alarm may have saved the lives of Abingdon residents an 'intense' fire engulfed the first-floor of their property in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Firefighters were called to the semi-detached property on Gordon Drive at 1.15am to find property well alight, with the fire have started in the airing cupboard.

The residents managed to escape unharmed after their alarm went off but there is extensive damage to the building.

The first of three crews arrived with minutes to find flames coming from the windows such was the ferocity of the fire.

Four firefighters went into the property, using hoses and fans to put out the fire. The Red Cross also attended to give support to the occupiers.

Watch Manager Cook from Abingdon Fire Station said “This incident highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms on each level of your house.

“The early warning that these alarms provided, which roused the occupants from sleep, gave them sufficient time to evacuate from the house without any injuries and without question saved their lives.

“The speed of growth and the intensity of this fire was incredible.

“My firefighters were subjected to extremely arduous conditions in bringing this fire under control. I would urge all residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms on each level of their home and that they are tested once a week”.

Crews from the Abingdon Fire Station had previously attended the property to carry out a home fire safety check which included fitting the smoke alarms that undoubtedly saved the lives of these two occupants.

Station Manager Speakman who also attended the incident said “It is vitally important that everyone makes an escape plan for their home, detailing the actions that they will take if they were to have a fire.

“We strongly advise that such a plan involves shutting doors as you leave the house if it is safe for you to do so. It is likely that this fire developed so quickly because the doors were left open.

“Shutting doors will not only limit the growth of the fire, but it will also stop smoke and flames spreading unrestricted into other parts of the house. We always recommend ‘Get Out, Get the Fire Service Out, and Stay Out.”

The cause of the fire is thought to be accidental.

If you would like fire safety advice for your home then visit www.365alive.co.uk or call the free phone helpline on 08000 325 999 or email: community.safety@oxfordshire.gov.uk