After just a few breaths, it was already too late.
Overcome by billowing smoke within seconds of opening the door, a woman in her 70s was caught on CCTV as she entered her apartment in what became the last few moments of her life.
That CCTV footage has now been released by British fire officers, who hope to drive home the dangers of heading into a smoke-filled building.
“It takes roughly two to three breaths in a smoke-filled room to be overcome by deadly fumes, which leads to Carbon Monoxide poisoning and can cause death,” wrote the Staffordshire Fire service in a statement on March 27.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said that the woman’s family had agreed to release the footage, which can be seen below, on condition that her name was withheld.
In the video, the woman opens the door and heads inside as thick smoke billows into the communal hallway.
The video then shows firefighters wearing gas masks and breaking into the property—before one of the crew carries the woman’s lifeless body outside.
Despite desperate attempts to resuscitate the woman, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We’re very thankful that the family have agreed to release this disturbing footage showing their loved one’s last living moments,” said Glynn Luznyj, Director of Prevent and Protect at the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“We hope that this will make people think twice before they investigate a fire or go back inside for any belongings as we don’t want this happening to anyone else.”
“It takes only a very small amount of smoke to affect you and it is therefore extremely important that you don’t try to tackle a fire yourself, or attempt to rescue any belongings or pets.”