Dishwasher fire prompts St Albans dad to go on bike ride for Fire Fighters Charity
PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:52 17 May 2016
When Jason Taylor suddenly received a call from the police on his daughter's mobile phone, he was immediately worried.
The 41 year old became even more concerned when the constable revealed the purpose of his call – a dishwasher in Jason’s house in St Albans was ablaze and firefighters were at the scene.
The dad has spoken to the Herts Advertiser about the alarming incident, to both warn others against leaving dishwashers on when they leave their homes, and to publicise a fundraising bike ride he is undertaking in aid of the Fire Fighters Charity, to show his gratitude for the emergency service.
Jason explained that on July 23 last year his wife, Sarah, put the dishwasher on after lunch and took the couple’s children out to enjoy the sunshine at the park as it was the first day of their summer holidays.
He added: “My mobile rang, and it was my daughter’s phone but it was a man’s voice saying ‘hello, this is PC Kirby.’ He said he was at my house, where he had seen the mobile phone, and I asked ‘what are you doing there?’
“He said he was there with the fire brigade – I was in the middle of the office and I swore quite loudly! He explained there had been a fire and he kind of played it down, saying there had been a bit of damage to the kitchen.”
It later transpired that the family’s neighbours, who are in their 80s, were alerted to the blaze by smoke alarms in the Taylors’ detached home in Sandpit Lane, St Albans.
After also seeing thick black smoke billowing from the chimney, they phoned Herts Fire and Rescue.
But they were initially more concerned about the family’s safety, as they had also spotted a car parked in their driveway and were unaware that the children had been taken to the park.
According to a spokesman for Herts Fire and Rescue Service, from the time of the call it was just seven minutes before fire engines arrived at the address.
Firefighters found the house “heavily smoke logged” and two sets of breathing apparatus were needed while the crew fought the blaze. Within 20 minutes of the 999 call, the fire was extinguished.
Jason said that to a certain degree luck was on their side as, because all the windows were closed, the fire was unable to spread throughout the rest of the houses and, “it could have been a lot worse”.
His message to others is to “never leave your washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher on when you go to bed or leave the house”.
The Taylors’ Hoover dishwasher, which was only a few years old, ended up causing damage to the kitchen, while the remainder of the house suffered smoke and soot damage.
Jason said: “We lost a lot of contents down to soot damage, but the house itself survived. It cost us six months, because we had to leave the house while work was carried out.
“I’ll always be grateful for the efforts of the firefighters. Their actions saved the structure and limited the damage done.”
He said that as saying “thank you doesn’t seem enough I wanted to raise money [but] I didn’t want to do something trivial”.
So he has been busy training to cycle 300 miles from London to Paris in aid of the Fire Fighters Charity, which helps improve the quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel.
To help Jason’s fundraising efforts – the ride itself is from June 2-4 – click here.