Police hail fire rescue hero

POLICE today hailed a quick-thinking rescuer a hero after he alerted residents to a fierce blaze consuming their building before helping to catch a woman as she leapt to safety.

Grant Sherlock

POLICE today hailed a quick-thinking rescuer a hero after he alerted residents to a fierce blaze consuming their building before helping to catch a woman as she leapt to safety.

The man has been credited with saving the lives of at least two people trapped inside the blazing block of flats in Trimley St Martin after the fire broke out early today.

Suffolk police said he raised the alarm after he spotted the fire spreading through the block of six flats in Jasmine Close just before 12.15am.

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After alerting the fire brigade, he was able to wake a 20-year-old woman inside one of the first floor flats by shouting from outside and then caught her after she was forced to jump from a first-floor window.

Anne-Marie Breach, spokesman for Suffolk police, said today: “He was walking home and saw the fire in the hallway. He immediately called the fire brigade and told them what was happening.

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“But he didn't stop there. He then tried to wake the residents up.

“One resident, a woman, was forced to climb from a window to escape from the property. She's had to jump from the first floor and he has then caught her.

“If he hadn't seen the fire when he did you dread to think what would have happened. It does appear he was very quick-thinking - he's probably saved people's lives.”

The fire broke out in the stairwell of the building after a settee or chair either caught alight or was deliberately set on fire. Suffolk police has launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze and was initially treating it as arson with intent to endanger life.

The first police officers arrived three minutes after being alerted by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and they used a ladder to climb through a first floor window to rescue a man trapped in his flat.

Firefighters from Felixstowe and Ipswich tackled the blaze. When the first crew arrived they found the first floor already “heavily involved in fire”. They brought the blaze under control by 1.20am.

The three first floor flats, including one which was unoccupied suffered extensive smoke damage, with the repair bill estimated at about £20,000.

The ground floor flats were not damaged and the residents of those flats were allowed to return to their homes after the fire was extinguished.

Anyone with information about the fire should contact Pc Scott Hard at Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

How the events unfolded:

12.13am: Passer-by raises the alarm by calling the fire brigade

12.15am: He tries to wake residents inside the flats and helps to rescue a woman from her first floor flat

12.17am: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service alerts Suffolk police to the unfolding emergency

12.18am: A paramedic from the East of England Ambulance Service arrives in Jasmine Close to give assistance

12.20am: First police arrive at the scene. Officers locate a ladder and use it to climb to the first floor, rescuing one resident from inside the building

12.26am: Suffolk police control room receives a report from officers at the scene that all residents are clear of the building.

Fire crews arrive.

12.32: The fire is brought under control

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