Postman praised for spotting fire

AN EAGLE-eyed postman has been hailed a hero after spotting a potentially devastating fire and preventing its spread to neighbouring homes as people slept.

AN EAGLE-eyed postman has been hailed a hero after spotting a potentially devastating fire and preventing its spread to neighbouring homes as people slept.

Michael Oliver was walking to work at the Bury St Edmunds sorting office when he spied the blaze and plumes of smoke coming from the stairwell of flats in the town's Cullum Road.

He quickly alerted the fire brigade, who arrived to extinguish the flames before they spread to adjacent properties early yesterday .

Mr Oliver's actions were praised by the police and neighbours, whose homes were saved as a result of his quick-thinking.


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"This man's early actions in alerting the fire brigade immediately could have prevented a far more serious fire with more devastating consequences," said a spokesman for Suffolk Police.

A 55-year-old man of no fixed abode was taken to the West Suffolk Hospital following the 4.45am incident, where he was yesterday receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.

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"I just happened to be passing by," said Mr Oliver. "At any kind of day, but especially at 4.45am, it is not the kind of thing you normally come across.

"My first thought was to have a look and see what was going on. I would not have liked it at my front door, but when you see a fire, it is never a good thing.

"My biggest concern was the smoke rising into other flats. If people were asleep, they wouldn't know anything about it."

Mr Oliver said although several other people were around and cars were driving by, he did not want to assume someone else may have called the emergency services.

"I would not have got too close to it, as the paintwork was blistering off," he added. "But I just did what anybody would have done. The fire service response was very good, and I waited around to make sure they could find where it was ok."

Although a second man in an upper flat was evacuated from his property, no one else was injured as a result of the incident. Police are investigating and treating the fire as suspicious.

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