Former footballer rescued from fire

A FORMER Ipswich Town footballer was rescued by two heroic neighbours who fought their way into his burning home to drag him clear.Ted Pole, who is believed to be 83-years-old, was recovering in hospital in a comfortable condition over the weekend as fire chiefs praised the men who acted so swiftly to save the former Ipswich Town forward.

By John Howard

A FORMER Ipswich Town footballer was rescued by two heroic neighbours who fought their way into his burning home to drag him clear.

Ted Pole, who is believed to be 83-years-old, was recovering in hospital in a comfortable condition over the weekend as fire chiefs praised the men who acted so swiftly to save the former Ipswich Town forward.

He played for the club between 1946 and 1951, wracking up 43 games and scoring 13 goals before leaving for Leyton Orient in July 1951. His debut for Ipswich Town, which he joined from the armed forces, was exactly 59 years ago yesterday .


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The fire, at Goring Road in Ipswich, broke out at about 6.10am on Saturday and an armchair, dining room chair and the television all caught fire. It is thought the blaze was caused by an electric heater, which was set too close to items of furniture.

Neighbour Lynn Baker heard Mr Pole's cries for help and woke her husband Guy, a 39-year-old sales manager. He phoned the fire service before passing the phone to his wife so she could keep talking to them while he rushed next door.

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Mr Baker went into his neighbour's home and, with the help of another neighbour, Sid Humble, rescued Mr Pole from the house. A nurse, who preferred not to be named, also went into the burning home to help despite the smoke.

Mrs Baker said: “I heard him shouting for help; he was lucky I was awake. I woke my husband and he called the fire brigade. He then gave the phone to me to keep talking to them.

“My husband went in with a neighbour - smoke was coming out really bad, thick, black, horrible smoke - and pulled him out. The chap was on the floor in the living room.

“Guy then got a hose from the garden and used it to bring the fire under control. I'm so proud of him.”

Geoff Pyke, assistant divisional officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, told how the two men rushed to the aid of the pensioner, who is thought to be confined to living on the ground floor of his two storey house.

Fire crews from Ipswich were called to the blaze and Mr Pyke said: “Our message would normally be to get out, get the fire brigade and stay out.

“In this case we had an elderly gentleman who was incapable of self rescue and two neighbours have acted heroically and it is thanks to them he is recovering from the effects of smoke inhalation in hospital and has not been more seriously hurt.

“They were very heroic and brave and have arguably saved his life. There has really been a bit of community spirit here.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police added: “Two men assisted the male from the fire and it's great thanks to them for their public spiritedness and help in this matter.”

Suffolk's fire service is involved in a campaign, Fire and Carers Together, where carers of vulnerable people can contact the fire service to put them on a database. This means, for example, if that person is usually confined to one room and fire should break out, the crews will know where in the house to find them.

For further information on Fire and Carers Together or for a free fire safety check contact the fire service on 01473 588888.

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