A COUPLE say their lives were saved by the seconds smoke alarms bought them after their dishwasher caught fire.
Peter and Audrey Junor were woken by the alarms and were able to tackle the blaze and flee their home at 4am on Saturday.
Mr Junor, 71, managed to put out the fire to stop it spreading through their home in Lansdown Close, Banbury.
His 97-year-old mother-in-law Frances Crowe was asleep upstairs while Mrs Junor had to be rescued by a neighbour from an upstairs window.
Mr Junor said the smoke was so thick and the blaze so fierce he could not reach the telephone or his door keys.
The retired defence industry worker said: “We were seconds away from it being fatal. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had a matter of seconds, not minutes, to get that fire out.
“Once the flames had got to the ceiling they would have gone up straight through the house.”
He twice doused the fire with water from a large plastic container and was then able to get to the phone and call the fire and rescue service.
Meanwhile, Mrs Junor, 66, had got out of a front bedroom window on to a ledge. She was rescued by Adrian Wragg, who lives opposite.
Mr Junor said: “If we hadn’t had smoke detectors, we wouldn’t be here now.”
Mrs Junor, a payroll supervisor, said: “I didn’t know what to do. You couldn’t see through the smoke.
“I got out of the bedroom window and shouted as loud as I could for help.
“I was worried to death about Peter. I couldn’t get any response from him. When I heard him on the phone to the fire brigade, it was a huge relief.”
Firefighters arrived shortly after and carried her mother to safety.
Mrs Junor said of Mr Wragg, whose wife Marie brought her neighbour a blanket: “I can’t thank them enough. They have proved to be such kind people.”
The Junors and Mrs Crowe were taken to The Horton Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Mr Wragg, 49, a business account manager, said he used skills learned when he was a retained firefighter.
Smoke was “billowing” from the house, he said, adding: “I had to get her down. I did what anybody else would have done.”
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the family had a “lucky escape”.
Watch Manager Danny Hicks said: “This is a clear reminder to everyone of the importance of working smoke alarms in homes. Check them once a week.”