Babies rescued by neighbours in Stevenage flats fire
- Credit: Archant
TWO young families have spoken about the moment their babies were rescued from a burning block of flats by neighbours.
Residents living in first floor flats in Beverley Road, Stevenage, shouted for help after a fire broke out in a downstairs property on Friday.
With smoke filling the two-storey building, their calls were answered by two neighbours who used ladders to reach the bedroom windows and get two one-year-olds to safety.
Shaun Truett, 26, and his girlfriend Megan Bradbury, 20, were with their 13-month-old son Tyler when the fire broke out directly below their flat at about 10.30pm.
“I saw some smoke coming up from downstairs and there was something alight outside the flats so my girlfriend called 999,” said Mr Truett.
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“They asked us to wrap ourselves in blankets and see if we could get down the stairs. I opened the door and took three small steps before I had to turn back. You see in films people being rescued from fires and I’ve always thought ‘why don’t they just go through the smoke?’, but now I know why. The heat and smoke was just ridiculous, I couldn’t breathe.
“I hung out of our bedroom window shouting if anyone had a ladder and a guy did. He climbed up and I gave him my little boy out the window. I wanted to go down too but my girlfriend wanted to wait for the fire service to arrive.”
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The couple, who haven’t been able to find out who the neighbour was, were rescued soon after by firefighters using a ladder on the other side of the building, with the fire declared out by 11pm.
Catherine Vass, 23, who lives opposite the couple with her 21-year-old boyfriend Perry Hunt and their 20-month-old son Ethan, also shouted for help.
“It was just scary as no one told us there was a fire, we had to find out for ourselves,” said Miss Vass.
“I was just doing the washing up when I smelt smoke. My boyfriend went to the door to look out and it was really black outside. The smoke came in so we just ran into the bedroom with Ethan and shut the door. I called for help out the window.”
Jez Martindale, who lives in a house facing the block of flats, was in bed when another resident knocked on the door and told him there was a fire.
“Everyone was panicking which was understandable,” said the 39-year-old.
“I got a stepladder out the shed and the guy [Perry] hung out the window and passed me his little one.”
The couple also got out through the window.
Mr Martindale, who lives with his wife Diane and daughter Terry, invited the families into his home after the ordeal while they arranged for places to stay for the night.
“I’ve been given some biscuits as a thank you,” he added.
“I just did what I had to do but it’s nice to be appreciated.”
No one was hurt in the fire, which is being treated as accidental.