Pair's heroic fire rescue

By Liz HearnshawHEROIC neighbours forced their way through choking fumes to rescue a 19-year-old woman trapped in her bedroom as her home burned around her.

By Liz Hearnshaw

HEROIC neighbours forced their way through choking fumes to rescue a 19-year-old woman trapped in her bedroom as her home burned around her.

Carl Loveridge and Barrie Massey were returning from an evening out in Brandon when they heard faint cries for help coming from the flame-filled house in the town's Thetford Road.

They spotted the woman at a first floor window, climbed onto a porch roof and tried in vain to persuade her to leave before Mr Loveridge clambered into the smoke-logged bedroom to comfort the teenager and ensure she had enough air until emergency services arrived.

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Their actions were commended by fire bosses, but the pair at the centre of the drama said anyone else would have done the same.

"I'm not a hero – I think anybody would have got up onto that roof if they had seen a girl trapped and smoke pouring out of her house," said Mr Loveridge, 27.

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"It was pretty stressful and I couldn't believe what was happening. It just didn't seem real. The smoke was so bad that I don't think she'd be alive if she had waited for the fire brigade."

The friends were returning from the pub shortly before 9pm on Wednesday when they were alerted to the blaze and saw thick black fumes pouring from the house.

"We could hear someone trying to get people's attention, but it was only faint and she wasn't shouting or screaming because the smoke meant she couldn't breathe," said Mr Loveridge.

"We climbed onto the roof and I saw how bad the smoke was and climbed right into the house. I went to open the bedroom door to see if we could go down the stairs, but the door was boiling hot, and I could see a big orange glow through all of the black, toxic smoke. I knew there was no way we could get out that way.

"The floor was also getting hot and I was worried in case it gave way. It was really hard to breathe. I said we should get out, but the girl was in hysterics and panicking as said she was scared of heights."

Mr Loveridge picked the teenager up and tried to hand her to Mr Massey, but she panicked and all they could do was comfort her and attempt to keep her calm until the fire brigade arrived.

"I kept putting her head out of the window so she could have some air. I was more worried for her than I was myself," added Mr Loveridge, who rescued a pensioner last year after her car overturned on the bend of a busy road. "I was adamant I was not going to walk out without her."

Mr Massey, 24, conquered his own fear of heights to help the woman, who was taken to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds suffering from smoke inhalation.

"We could see this big cloud of dark smoke, and just kept comforting the girl and telling her everything would be all right. When we got down I was shaking as I was scared sitting on that roof," he said.

Assistant Divisional Officer John Hubble, of Suffolk Fire Service, said the blaze had been contained in the lounge area, but the rest of the house had suffered severe smoke damage.

He added: "We would commend Barrie and Carl's actions, but we would not recommend the public go into any burning building as they could put themselves in danger."

Mr Hubble refused to say what had caused the fire, but said it had been identified.

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