Saturday, 29 July 2017 I was very busy because I was chairing an academic conference at Durham University Business School from 9 AM to 6.30 PM then followed by a dinner with all participants at a Mediterranean restaurant at Durham City Centre from 8-10 PM.

I arrived at home about 10.30 then the first thing that I did after I entered my house was that I put my take away boxes to my fridge because we left so much foods at the dinner. While I was arranging all my stuffs at the fridge, I was heating a pan of chicken soup by using my electric stove at my kitchen located at the back of the ground-floor.

After I finished managing my foods at the fridge, I went to my room at the first floor to take a rest and sleep because I was so tired after I had a very long day. Within a few minutes, I and my wife fell asleep.

It was about 11.45, I woke up because I heard annoying sounds from the outside. When I opened my eyes, I saw that there was a flashing blue lights from my room window. Then, I opened my curtains and I found that there were a couple of officers (I thought it was police) and two cars (I thought it was police cars) at the main road exactly in front of and surrounding my house. Suddenly I was shocked and completely awake, then I quickly went downstairs and opened my main door, I found that the fire fighters screamed to me “You, get out now!”. Responsively, I went back to my room at the first floor to call my wife while screaming “Fire, fire, fire!” but then the officers said that “No! you, get out now! we will handle it” then he asked me to get out of my house and I was out without any coat on-thankfully it wasn’t really cold.
I was waiting outside with my 3-4 neighbours next door who contacted the fire fighters because they saw that my house was already full of smoke, my fire alarms were already ringing loudly and water was spraying. They thought that no one was at home. My wife said they are all students as well at Durham University. Dear Neighbours, I really thank you that you called the fire service-you have saved our life! and am sorry for all of these problems.

While waiting outside with my neighbours, wife and friends, at the beginning I had no idea how this fire came from. Then I realised that it was completely my fault because I forgot to turn the stove off after I heated the chicken soup. I felt terrible, I endangered my wife and friends who are currently in Durham because they are attending the conference. I do really really really apologise to you guys, I am so sorry.

Finally and thankfully, about 00.15, everything was clear and safe. Then, the fire fighters allowed us to enter the house again and take a rest.


In short, I would like to:

  • thank you to the County Durham and Darlington Fire Rescue Service, especially for your amazing jobs and thanks to the brave 8 fire fighters who saved me, my wife and friends. You guys are amazing! Fantastic job!
  • thank you to the neighbours who called the fire service and noticed the hazard quickly. Without you, I can’t imagine what would happen next. Thank you for saving our lifes.
  • ask you that-please learn from my mistake: don’t ever leave your stove on or without any supervision and please double-check your stove before you go to sleep or leave your house.

And the most important part is, we are absolutely fine now, so don’t worry about us. Thank you.

Dzulfian Syafrian
30 July 2017
01.41 AM