Heroes hailed for flat blaze rescue efforts

The top home at Smithies Lane flats in Birstall caught fire on Tuesday morning.
The top home at Smithies Lane flats in Birstall caught fire on Tuesday morning.
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Brave mystery heroes burst into a block of flats during a dawn fire and lifted an unconscious man to safety.

Firefighters from Dewsbury and Cleckheaton rushed to the blaze in Smithies Lane, Birstall, shortly before 7am on Tuesday.

And eyewitness David Allen, who called the emergency services, praised the unknown bin collectors and ‘white van man’ who stopped to help residents inside the flats.-

Mr Allen, 35, of Fieldhead, said: “It was just billowing smoke in the top flat. I proceeded to run towards it and started ringing the fire service.

“A bin lorry had come around the corner, parked on the pavement and four guys got out. A white van pulled up as well.

“They bashed the front door in and proceeded to work out where the smoke and fumes were coming from.

“They were able to get the elderly couple opposite out first.

“I tried banging on the outside windows and the bin men were trying to break down the door where the fire was.

“They carried down a guy who was unconscious. One took his jacket off to keep him warm.”

Within minutes the fire service were on the scene.

“There was a guy who was trying to jump out of the back window. They put up the ladders to get him out,” said Mr Allen.

A fire service spokesman confirmed that two people had been taken to hospital by ambulance for a precautionary check-up.

He added that a smoke alarm was fitted in the house, but it was not working properly.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Dad-of-two Mr Allen added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the bin men and white van man which pulled up and put their lives at risk to help evacuate the people who were in there.

“They didn’t stop or hesitate. They just waded in to make sure all the people were woken and out before too much damage had been caused.”