Heroic neighbour tells how he pulled 75-year-old unconscious woman from blazing home (From Southend Standard)
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Heroic neighbour tells how he pulled 75-year-old unconscious woman from blazing home
6:10am Tuesday 17th December 2013 in Echo News
HEROIC neighbours saved the life of an elderly woman when they rescued her from a burning bungalow.
Hilary Watts, 75, was unconscious on her kitchen floor when neighbour Terry Hawthorn bravely entered her smoke-logged bungalow in Louis Drive West, Rayleigh, and carried her to safety.
Mr Hawthorn, 63, was getting ready for the night shift at the Royal Mail centre in Boreham at about 9pm on Friday when his partner, Linda Morris, heard a popping sound coming from the Mrs Watts’s bungalow next door.
He said: “I went outside and had a look – the windows were all black and cracked and one of them had blown out.
“The bungalow was filled with thick, black smoke and I could see flames.”
He quickly called the fire service and then rushed around to the other neighbour, John Jones, who had a key to Mrs Watts’s back door.
Mr Hawthorn said: “We got the door open and black, billowing smoke was coming out.
“It was a black funnel with acrid smoke.”
Mr Jones tried the front of the bungalow again as Linda shone a torch in the back door – then the beam revealed Mrs Watts lying prone on her kitchen floor, her walking frame on top of her.
Without a thought for his own safety, Mr Hawthorn, who sprained his wrist in the rescue, rushed inside and Linda and Mr Jones helped him carry her out of the back door.
Mr Hawthorn said: “If she had been in the front room, we wouldn’t have got to her.
“I feel good that we got her out. The smoke would have killed her.”
Mr Jones, 57, said: “When you need to do it, you do. The smoke was really billowing out the back. Terry has saved her.”
The fire had already engulfed half of the bungalow by the time firefighters arrived and it took about 45 minute to put out.
Mark Earwicker, assistant divisional officer for the fire service, said: “He should be commended. He is very brave.
“His actions have saved the life of the occupant.
“The fire itself was intense.
“The conditions inside were hostile.
“The crews had to work particularly hard to extinguish the fire.”
Mrs Watts is said to be recovering well in Southend Hospital.
The fire service believes the blaze was started accidentally.
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