Pair rescue pensioner from fire

By Roddy AshworthTWO dairy managers have played down their heroic actions after they helped a badly-injured elderly woman whose house had been gripped by fire.

By Roddy Ashworth

TWO dairy managers have played down their heroic actions after they helped a badly-injured elderly woman whose house had been gripped by fire.

Arnolda Bartier, 92, had emerged from her fire-hit house in London Road, Copford, suffering from serious burns to her back, arms, neck and lower body.

But the pensioner was determined to re-enter her burning house until Co-op dairy managers Rick Skeggs and Phil Squires managed to stop her.


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The pair, who were filling in for staff members on sick leave, noticed flames and smoke coming from her house when making their morning deliveries at about 10.40am yesterday.

After banging on the front door, they raced to the back of the building, where they found Mrs Bartier and her badly-scorched dog outside.

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Mr Squires, a doorstep area manager, and Mr Skeggs, a supervisor, stopped Mrs Bartier going back into her house and called the emergency services.

Firefighters from Colchester and Coggeshall used breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze at the end-terraced house, which was put out at about 11.25am.

Two ambulances from Colchester and the Essex Air Ambulance were also sent to the blaze.

Ambulance operation manager, Terry Howell, said: “Due to the severity of the injuries, we decided that she would almost certainly need specialist care. With Broomfield Hospital a centre of excellence for burns, it made sense to take her straight there.”

The air ambulance landed in the car park of Kings nightclub and Mrs Bartier was flown to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford after receiving on-scene emergency treatment.

Mr Squires said: “Anyone would have done the same in our situation - heroics don't come into it. You just go on auto-pilot and do whatever you've got to do.”

Neighbours said Mrs Bartier, who lived alone with her dog - which Mr Squires and Mr Skeggs took to a vet - and is known as “Nollie”, was a pleasant and independent woman.

“We have had our concerns because she is very elderly and they are not small houses. It is her age that is worrying. It's an awful thing to have happened,” they added.

Mrs Bartier's son, Malcolm, who lives in Foundry Lane, Copford, said: “She is okay at the moment. However, it is early days though as she is nearly 93.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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