“Hero” rescues man from blaze

Fire drama: Ben Smith has been hailed a hero after rescuing his 'neighbour from a flat fire and (below) some bedding and a mattress 'were destroyed in the blaze
Fire drama: Ben Smith has been hailed a hero after rescuing his 'neighbour from a flat fire and (below) some bedding and a mattress 'were destroyed in the blaze

Firefighters today hailed a Blackpool man a “hero” after he saved a neighbour’s life by rescuing him from a burning flat.

When Ben Smith, 36, spotted smoke coming from the flat below his on Munster Avenue, Bispham, he raced to help – opening the front door and dragging the man out of the property.

Munster Avenue Fire - damage inside the property

Munster Avenue Fire - damage inside the property

Firefighters have praised Mr Smith’s heroic actions.

Bispham Fire Station watch manager Nick Treece-Birch said:“If he had not dragged him out the guy would have died. He is a hero.

“He has saved his life.”

Mr Smith rescued his 46-year-old neighbour from the flat after spotting the smoke around 1.30pm yesterday.

He told The Gazette he “acted on instinct”.

He added: “I was at home playing on my Xbox when I could hear a smoke alarm going off.

“It had been going off for a few minutes so I opened the front door and saw loads of smoke coming from the flat below.

“I ran downstairs, opened the front door and saw the fire.

“Smoke was everywhere.

“I ran inside the bedroom and the man was in the corner of the room – the guy was disorientated.

“I just grabbed him under his arms and dragged him out.

“I just acted on instinct – I did not even think.

“I can’t really explain why I did it.

“It was all so surreal. After the fire brigade and ambulance arrived he had some oxygen.

“He asked if my dog, Tyson, was OK, then just said ‘thanks – if you had not been there I would have died.’

“Life is too short – I just thought ‘there is a fire with someone in there, I have to get them out’.

“Adrenaline kicked in I guess.”

After the man was dragged to safety, fire crews from Bispham and Blackpool Fire Stations arrived at the scene and quickly put out the blaze.

Watch manager Treece-Birch added: “On arrival we could see smoke coming from a ground floor flat.

“The homeowner was sat outside – a fire in his bedroom was well-developed.

“Two crew members went inside wearing breathing equipment and quickly put the fire out.

“After arriving, we soon realised a man from an upstairs flat had rescued the homeowner.

“He had heard the smoke alarm going off and had gone downstairs.

“The front door was open with smoke up to the ceiling.

“He had run in and rescued the guy and dragged him out.”

Some bedding and a mattress were destroyed in the fire.

The 46-year-old flat owner was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene with oxygen by emergency crews.

He was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital suffering from first degree burns to his hands and given further treatment for smoke inhalation.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said the cause of the fire is now under investigation.