Man saves girlfriend from flat fire
A MAN saved his girlfriend's life by catching her in his arms after she jumped from a burning top floor flat.Stephen Arnold, 39, said yesterday he thought his partner was going to die as she became trapped in flames tearing through his Colchester flat.
A MAN saved his girlfriend's life by catching her in his arms after she jumped from a burning top floor flat.
Stephen Arnold, 39, said yesterday he thought his partner was going to die as she became trapped in flames tearing through his Colchester flat.
He said he was just about to go to bed around 9pm on Wednesday when his girlfriend, Jane Lovette, 36, screamed that the living room armchair was on fire.
He said: "I must have dropped a cigarette butt or something. I went back into the room and tried to drag the chair down the stairs to take it outside.
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"But it just went 'whoosh' and the flames grew. I couldn't get it past the stairwell and it got blocked.
"It meant Jane couldn't get out of the room and she was trapped. I ran next door to get them to call the fire brigade and rushed back to Jane."
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By this time the flames were threatening to engulf the rest of the first floor flat - a converted council house in Wolton Road.
Mr Arnold said: "I shouted at her to get into the kitchen at the back of the house and jump from the window.
"I went to the neighbour's garden round the back and pleaded for about 10 minutes for her to come down, but she was terrified - panicking and screaming saying she couldn't do it.
"The flames were starting to come towards her and I said 'Come on, you can do it, you're a strong girl'.
"Thank God, she did and jumped about 10ft. I managed to catch her, but she crushed me and we both ended up on the concrete patio."
He added: "If she hadn't jumped she'd be dead, there's no doubt about that. It was like an inferno – its shows how dangerous older furniture can be. The flat is trashed, but I'm just glad she's alive."
The couple were slightly injured but declined to go to hospital.
Colchester firefighters arrived after the drama and managed to contain the fire to the upstairs part of the house.
nA 95-year-old Bradfield woman who accidentally set fire to herself on a gas stove, which she had lit to keep warm on a bitterly cold day, has died.
Popular Eileen Jackson, of Mill Lane, died at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, where she was being treated for severe burns following the incident at her home on February 20.
The daughter of a Dovercourt headteacher, she was well known in the village and the neighbouring town of Manningtree.
Once one the youngest women to climb the Matterhorn, Mrs Jackson was also a keen gardener, cricket lover and had been an enthusiastic member of the Stour Sailing Club, whose flag is flying at half-mast.
Penny Hughes-Stanton, chair of Manningtree Town Council, said: "She was a most wonderful person."