Parents, six children and 14 pets escape ‘terrifying’ fire in Rugby

Georgina and Richard Mercier have praised the fire crews and Red Cross for their help, when a chip pan fire broke out at the family home
Georgina and Richard Mercier have praised the fire crews and Red Cross for their help, when a chip pan fire broke out at the family home

A Rugby family who battled a ‘terrifying’ chip pan fire in total darkness are warning others to be safety conscious.

Richard and Georgina Mercier, who live on the Manor Estate in Rugby, managed to get their six children to safety after a fire broke out in their kitchen.

It was terrifying as the electric had blown so it was pitch black

Georgina Mercier

Richard had been cooking a late dinner for himself around 11.30pm on Tuesday February 10 and thought he had turned the chip pan off. He fell asleep in the living room and woke up to the smell of smoke.

“He was screaming ‘get out, get out’ and I jumped out of bed with our one-year-old,” Georgina said.

“I went on to the landing and there was smoke everywhere. I ran into the bedroom, opened the window and started screaming for help.

“It was terrifying as the electric had blown so it was pitch black,” Georgina said.

Their six children, Courtney, 13, Jacob, nine, Corey, eight, Kursten, six, Alfie, four, and Poppy, one, were all treated for smoke inhalation. Their eldest daughter, Sophie, 18, was not in the house.

The family’s three dogs, five cats, budgie, rabbit, tortoise and three turtles were inside at the time but were unharmed.

“We made our way downstairs and when I looked down my two older boys were crawling on the floor. They had remembered what the visiting firefighters had taught them at school a few weeks ago and I couldn’t believe it. I was really proud of them and it shows what a great job the firemen do.”

Richard extinguished the fire with a bucket of water while the fire crew was on its way.

“The smoke was so intense and our faces were black, there was just so much of it. I could feel it burning my nose, my mouth, my lungs, everything felt hot,” Georgina said.

The family’s smoke alarm had broken a few weeks before the fire and they had been meaning to replace it.

“We’ve been so busy that it just went out of our heads but it shouldn’t have. Sometimes when things are hectic you forget about really important things,” Georgina said.

She praised the firemen for their support and the British Red Cross for arranging a hotel for the night.

“Everyone was amazing and we can’t thank them enough. We would have been lost without them.

“One of the Red Cross men even looked after our budgie for the night.”

Georgina said the family had learnt a lot from the ‘scary’ experience.

“We will be buying fire blankets, extra smoke alarms and sitting down to make an escape plan, and I’d encourage other families to be careful - you never think it will happen to you.”

The family went to the station on Tuesday to thank the crew for their help and the children, who are fans of Fireman Sam, were given a tour.

Georgina said: “There are no words to express our gratitude for all they did and the Red Cross for all their help.

“So many people have shown so much kindness since it happened, we have met new and wonderful people and developed a stronger bond with those we didn’t know very well before.”