Mexborough and Swinton Times January 27, 1939
Bedroom Full of Fumes
Bakery Flue Backdraft?
Early Morning Alarm
Two Goldthorpe sisters had remarkable escapes from death in the early hours of Monday morning. As their bedroom was speedily becoming filled with poisonous fumes, one of them awoke, roused her younger sister, staggered towards the window, collapsed, and then recovered sufficiently to fling the window open.
This experience befell the Misses Annie Mary and Audrey Poole, who own a confectionery and bakery business at 33, Barnsley Road, Goldthorpe, and who live on the premises.
Miss Annie Poole, the elder sister, gave a graphic description of their extremely fortunate escape to a representative of this paper.
“We sleep together,” she said, “in the bedroom at the back of the building. I happened to wake up about 2 o’clock on Monday morning, smelt strong gas fumes and awoke my sister.
I got out of bed to open the window but, my legs seemed paralysed and I collapsed on the floor. Audrey managed to stagger to the electric switch and put the light on and then I recovered sufficiently to throw the window open.
We stood for a few minutes at the window in Ealing fresh air and then I went downstairs and opened the door and all the window
“I went upstairs again and together we leaned out of the window, but the fumes rising from the back door became stronger than ever. We went to the front bedroom window and were leaning out of it when a policeman saw us and helped us out of the house. He took us to the Police Station and we were given cups of coffee and were advised to go for a walk. We walked round for some time and then returned to the house—but not to go to sleep.”
It was fortunate for the ladies that PC Williams noticed the lights in the house and the open windows and went to help them, for Miss Audrey suffers from asthma, was a very weak condition and could not get downstairs without assistance. Miss Annie Poole could not go to fetch assistance because she feared that her sister might collapse and, had not the policeman notice their plight, it is probable that the ladies would have had to wait until someone happened to pass.
The sisters expressed their deep gratitude to P.c. Williams and to the police men who looked after them at the station. The house, they said, was full of fumes and they described the experience as “one we hope never to repeat.” Miss Annie Poole said it was possible that if she had not awakened when she did they would both have suffocated in their sleep.
She said that they both felt seedy on Monday, but had almost completely recovered on Tuesday.
It is thought that the fumes were caused by a backdraught in the bake oven, which is housed in the same building, for it was a damp and windy night.
The two ladies took over the business about a year ago, coming from the Barnsley district.