Family thank hero firefighters after house blaze

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In November, the Griffiths’ family home in St Clement was severely damaged when the kitchen hob was accidentally turned on and ignited a nearby washing basket.

Nadine and her two children George (7) and Mollie (5) escaped from the fire unharmed.

But their cat Tinka was left behind and was minutes away from death when he was rescued by firefighters and resuscitated using a specialist animal oxygen mask.

The family, including dad Jamie, as well as Tinka, visited the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service headquarters recently to thank the crew for their efforts – delivering cakes with pictures of the cat on them.

And Mrs Griffiths has warned Islanders to be careful and alert to the potential dangers in the home as ‘a simple accident took minutes to ignite an uncontrollable fire’.

She said: ‘We wish to sincerely thank the fire service for rescuing and reviving Tinka – they are our heroes. I never thought that this would happen to us so please be warned.

‘Since the fire we have being trying to salvage some belongings of sentimental value. Losing our home with all its memories has been extremely difficult. However, we are extremely grateful that our family were uninjured.’

The family, who have been been living with Mrs Griffiths’ parents since the blaze, thanked family and friends who had offered support in the past month.

Discussing the day of the fire, Mrs Griffiths said: ‘My son ran to me screaming that the kitchen was on fire, as his bedroom is in line with the kitchen area.

‘The fire was filling the small kitchen area so I knew there was nothing I could do. I instructed the children to run to my car to keep safe while I located the mobile phone and keys and followed. The smoke damage to the rest of the property and belongings is unbelievable.

‘I just want to warn others how easily and quickly these things can happen. You never think these things happen to you.

‘Our son George raised the alarm before the smoke alarm sounded and both followed good instructions to exit the house.

‘They had been given fire safety talks in school but I think it is so important for parents to talk to children about what they should do at home in event of a fire, and know the emergency exits and assemble in a safe area.’

Watch Commander Paul McGrath said the fire was ‘well established’ when the crews arrived at the home and that it wasn’t until quite late that they found Tinka.

‘Matt [Roberts] brought her out and she was lifeless,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t sure she would live.

‘We only had nine of us so everyone was busy – I told the pump operator to get the pet mask. When I came back ten minutes later, the cat suddenly had a bit of life in it.’

He also praised George and Mollie for putting into practice what they had learned about fires in school.

‘The kids picked up on all the training they have done at school,’ he said. ‘They raised the alarm and got out quickly and sensibly – that was really good. It is nice to see them and good to know they are well.’

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