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

PUBLISHED: 18:01 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 19:52 01 September 2017

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) was called to the scene. Picture: ECFRS

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) was called to the scene. Picture: ECFRS


Two men who created a ladder out of wheelie bins to help a woman escape a burning flat in Colchester have been hailed as heroes.

A neighbour and a waste collector acted fast to save the woman after her first floor flat in Axial Drive caught fire at around 11.20am today.

After spotting smoke billowing from the building and a woman trapped, the quick-thinking pair called 999 but decided to take their own action ahead of the arrival of the fire service.

The duo managed to stack up wheelie bins so the woman could climb out of her window.

Station Officer Ian Ryder, of Colchester Fire Station, said: “When we arrived, the woman was already out of the flat thanks to the heroic actions of the two passers-by, and we gave her oxygen therapy while we waiting for the ambulance service.

“We also evacuated six other residents of the block of flat as a precaution while we dealt with the fire.

“Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the affected flat and managed to extinguish the fire within 10 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”.

An investigation is underway to establish the cause of the fire, but at this stage it is not being treated as suspicious.

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