Heroes rescue neighbour from house fire
Published: July 7, 2008 | 7168th good news item since 2003
TWO hero housemates have told how they pulled their neighbour from a smoke-filled kitchen after a fire in the early hours of the morning.
Rhys Lomax, 29, and Chris Clark, 25, of South Street, Haslingden, charged into the 41-year-old man’s home after they heard his smoke alarm at around 1.55am on Sunday.
Prison officer Mr Lomax said: “I had just picked Chris up from the airport and we were arriving back at our house.
“Then I heard this beeping and at first I thought it was the car because we’d left the headlights on.
“But then I realised it was my neighbour’s house and we could see smoke everywhere.
“We charged into the house and found him collapsed on the oven with black smoke coming from it – I don’t know how he had not burned.
“We dragged him out and put him out on the main road and then called out the fire and ambulance.”
Fire crews from Haslingden and Rawtenstall attended the blaze, which left the kitchen smoke damaged and the oven completely destroyed.
Paramedics attempted to take the 41-year-old to hospital but he refused medical attention.
Mr Lomax added: “If it had been another couple of minutes I think he would have been up in flames. He was a very lucky lad.
“He was also lucky I was bringing Chris back from the airport because otherwise I don’t think we would have heard the alarm.”
Afterwards, fire officers praised the pair, saying they had potentially saved the man’s life.
But Mr Lomax played it down and added: “I am a prison officer so I have dealt with things like that before.
“I didn’t see any flames so I thought I would risk it. It was a bit risky but it is just one of those things – the adrenaline was going.”
And Mr Clark, a shop manager, said: “If there had been flames we might have thought twice but we just covered our mouths and went in.
“We thought he was a goner because he was unconscious on the chair in front of the oven.”
Andy Sas, crew manager at Rawtenstall fire station, said the incident highlighted the importance of fitting smoke detectors.
He said: “It was potentially a very bad fire and the message to be brought home is the importance of smoke alarms.”
Fire officers would be making door-to-door calls in the area to offer home safety checks, he added.