Neighbors rescue man from fire

Published: August 17, 2007 | 6651st good news item since 2003

AN Allonby man’s decision to have an early night saved the life of an elderly neighbour.

Matthew Glencross, 20, of The Square, Allonby, returned home from a night out at Cockermouth at about midnight on Friday to find smoke billowing from the home of 84-year-old John Wilson next door.

Mr Glencross woke his father, who had a key to Mr Wilson’s house, and the two men rushed to save their neighbour.

“We didn’t see any flames,” Mr Glencross said, but added that it was impossible to see anything through dense smoke.

Mr Wilson, who has lived in the same house all his life, tried to flee the house when a smoke detector was activated late on Friday night but was unable to find the front door through the smoke. He was trapped inside until his neighbours arrived to lead him to safety.

Matthew’s father, who declined to give his name and denied suggestions that their actions were heroic, said he and Matthew had not done anything that any other good neighbour would not do.

He said that Mr Wilson was lucky Matthew had returned home from Cockermouth early.

Mr Wilson used his Careline system to alert the service that he was in trouble.

“He’s usually a lot later than midnight,” he added.

He said the fire seemed to have started in a kitchenette and the damage, apart from smoke damage, was largely confined to that part of the house.

“At no time did we see any flames, nor do we know how the fire started,” he said.

Mr Wilson was given oxygen at the scene and admitted to the cardiac unit at the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

He was later moved to a general ward and Mr Glencross said he was expected to complete his recovery at Maryport’s community hospital.

Joe Little, Workington group manager for Cumbria fire service, said: “This man suffered severe smoke inhalation and had to be given first aid. He is lucky to be alive.

“If it had not been for the brave actions of his neighbours, the outcome could have been totally different.”

A collection of Mr Wilson’s toy cars was blackened by the smoke but Mr Glencross said he thought they would clean up.

Published in Rescues
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