Man rescued from blazing flat
HERO firemen pulled a stricken 23-year-old from a first floor window after flames engulfed his flat, trapping him inside.The man, who is thought to have escaped with only breathing problems caused by the acrid smoke, was taken to hospital by ambulance minutes after the dramatic rescue in Beaumont Close, Bury St Edmunds, yesterday afternoon .
HERO firemen pulled a stricken 23-year-old from a first floor window after flames engulfed his flat, trapping him inside.
The man, who is thought to have escaped with only breathing problems caused by the acrid smoke, was taken to hospital by ambulance minutes after the dramatic rescue in Beaumont Close, Bury St Edmunds, yesterday afternoon . He was still under observation in accident and emergency last night.
Police, who immediately launched a joint investigation with fire experts into the cause of the suspicious fire, said it was the second blaze at the property in the past year. Both incidents are believed to be the work of arsonists.
The drama unfolded after neighbours dialled 999 when they saw smoke pouring from the flat and the man hanging from the window above them. They said the swift arrival of the crews saved their neighbour's life.
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Bury fireman, sub officer Steve Morgan, said his crew was the first on the scene and found the victim leaning from one of the windows at the rear of his flat gasping for air: “Thick black smoke was coming from both windows at the front.”
The fireman said that within seconds his team had got ladders to the man and were preparing to pull him out of the burning flat: “Smoke was billowing out of both windows but we told him to stay calm. Firefighter John Roderick went up and got him out.”
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It was feared there were more people trapped in the burning building so at the same time Mr Morgan ordered the locked door of the flat to be smashed open and firefighters in breathing gear were sent to search the first floor rooms and tackle the flames.
Mr Morgan praised his officers for the way they tackled the incident, which left the 23-year-old's flat badly damaged by fire, smoke and water.
“We had him rescued and on his way to Bury's West Suffolk Hospital within five minutes and at the same time we ascertained there to be no-one else in the flat,” he said.
Assistant Divisional Officer Henry Landis praised the firefighters: “I think they were absolutely brilliant. They were very quick - within minutes the first crew had two ladders out, BA (breathing apparatus) sets out and a hose out as well as being under the control and command system (form more serious incidents) - that's an awful lot of work for six men and they did really well.”
Neighbours who called the fire brigade described seeing thick black smoke pouring from the building as the man hung from the first floor window.
One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “The man who lives there was hanging out of the window. He had undone most of the windows, but the firefighters had to break the glass in the kitchen as it would not open fully.
“They ended up bashing the door in as well, and as soon as they did that, I could hear crackling and sparking as the stereo went up in flames. The firefighters arrived in about four minutes, which was good as within half an hour things would have been a lot more serious.”
Last night police spokesman Mike Nunn said the latest suspicious fire at the flat was the second there in the past year. He said scenes of crime officers were at the scene for much of the afternoon.