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Colchester woman says she ‘owes her life’ to passersby who rescued her from burning flat

PUBLISHED: 09:11 03 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:14 03 September 2017

The flat in Axial Drive, Colchester. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The flat in Axial Drive, Colchester. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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A Colchester woman rescued from her burning flat says she “owes her life” to two passersby who stacked wheelie bins so she could escape through the window.

The first floor flat which Lucy Fyfield escaped from thanks to two passersby. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe first floor flat which Lucy Fyfield escaped from thanks to two passersby. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Lucy Fyfield, 29, of Axial Drive, has managed to trace one of the quick thinking heroes who helped her escape the blaze but is still trying to find the other man involved in the incident to say thank you.

Lucy, a photographer, was feeling unwell on Friday morning and went to bed at around 9.45am and says she woke up to complete darkness before quickly realising her first floor flat was on fire.

Heroic passers-by rescue woman from Colchester flat fire by creating ladder out of wheelie bins

She said: “I wasn’t feeling well, I had cold/flu-like symptoms so I took a tablet, closed the curtains and hoped to sleep it off.

“When I woke up, it was completely black. At first I thought I had slept through to night and my partner hadn’t woke me up, then I realised what was going on.

Damage in the flat caused by the fire. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDDamage in the flat caused by the fire. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“I managed to get the window open and started shouting and Chris Payne, a waste collector, was there and called 999. A few other neighbours then started coming around and Chris and another guy then stacked the bins.

“The other man, who I am trying to find, stood up on the bins and said: ‘Listen to me and I’ll get you out of this flat’.

“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here. I owe them my life.”

Lucy says she has been able to speak with Mr Payne since the incident to thank him for his quick thinking which saved her.

Damage in the flat caused by the fire. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDDamage in the flat caused by the fire. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

She said: “I messaged Chris and he was playing it down but I told him that not everyone would have done that.

“I want them to be recognised for what they did, and will keep saying thank you.

“I’ve never been so pleased to see wheelie bins, that’s for sure.”

Mr Payne, 36, who works for Colchester Borough Council as an HGV driver, said: “It was quite a day. It’s my job to empty the big communal bins and as I was doing that on Friday, I heard a ladies voice calling for help and she asked to call the fire brigade.

The first floor flat which Lucy Fyfield escaped from thanks to two passersby. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe first floor flat which Lucy Fyfield escaped from thanks to two passersby. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“Thick, black smoke was coming out of her window and myself and several other neighbours were trying to get into the flat. I told the operator I would have to break in but was told not to do that and to wait for the fire brigade.

“It was then that I had the idea to stack the bins together and I held the bins while another gentleman climbed up to lower her down.

“I don’t consider myself a hero, I think anyone would have done that and it was a real team effort.

“I have spoken to Lucy over Facebook and she did thank me which is very sweet. It’s just fantastic that we were able to save her.

Ian Ryder, station officer at Colchester Fire Station, said: “When we arrived, the woman was already out of the flat thanks to the heroic actions of the two passersby.

“Two firefighters immediately entered the affected flat and managed to extinguish the fire within ten minutes.

“Several rooms in the flat have been badly damaged by the fire, but firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to anywhere else in the block.”

The fire service said an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the fire, but it is not being treated as suspicious.

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