Hadleigh: Man pulls flat fire pair to safety

A COURAGEOUS neighbour last night told of the moment he helped two people escape from a burning building.

A man was taken to hospital after leaping from the first-floor window of a flat as the fire raged downstairs.

A woman also suffered burns as the ground floor of the Magdalen Road home, in Hadleigh, was gutted by a blaze that broke out just after 2am yesterday.

Neighbour Paul Chitty pulled both of them away from the quickly advancing flames. The 47-year-old’s quick thinking meant neither suffered more serious injuries.

Firefighters from Hadleigh and Princes Street in Ipswich were called to the scene, along with an ambulance amid concerns that people were trapped inside the flat.


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Support from Nayland and Woodbridge fire crews was soon called in as the fire spread through the ground floor of the three-storey building, which is divided into five flats.

The male occupant, a 32-year-old named locally as Ben, jumped from the first floor as smoke rose through the building, making it difficult for him to breathe. It is believed that this led to him breaking his leg and resulted in him suffering a head injury.

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He was taken to hospital along with another casualty – a 26-year-old woman, believed to be called Lucy, who suffered burns.

Mr Chitty, who was woken at 2am by the sound of a fire alarm, rushed outside to see his neighbour’s home ablaze. “There was smoke inside my flat and I didn’t know where it was coming from – then I came outside to see the ground floor on fire.”

Mr Chitty alerted nearby residents and called the fire service, which was already on the way. He added: “A woman came running out of the front door. She had staggered downstairs because of the smoke.

“I got her to move away because the open door was creating a chimney of flames. She was visibly shaken.

“Then I turned to see a man had jumped from the window because the smoke had become unbearable. I lifted him from the ground because the flames were licking out of the bottom window.”

Firefighters using breathing gear were able to bring the blaze under control just before 3am and ventilate the rest of the property.

A building control officer was called in later to check the safety of the structure and a thermal imaging camera used to ensure the flames had been fully extinguished.

Fire investigators believe a smoke detector may have saved the lives of the two people who escaped the blaze.

Station manager Ian Mallet said an early warning had saved two lives, adding: “Smoke detectors have proved their worth once again. People should make sure they have them in their homes and test them regularly.”

The fire service said there was nothing to suggest the blaze was suspicious but are carrying out a full investigation to determine the cause.

An ambulance spokesman said neither of the people injured in the fire were badly hurt. He added: “Their injuries were not too serious but we conveyed the male and female patients to hospital.”

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