Watchful neighbour saves man from fire in Accrington
A QUICK-THINKING neighbour helped save the life of a man who fell asleep while cooking on his grill.
Darren Walters, 42, called the fire brigade after hearing a smoke alarm ringing in a fellow resident’s flat in Accrington.
Three fire crews battered down a door to get into the first floor apartment in St Leger Court after the alert was raised at 10.21 on Monday night (28 oct).
Two crew members had to carry the occupant, 38-year-old John Hitchon, down the stairs unconscious after they failed to wake him.
Mr Hitchon said that he had returned home at 10pm before attempting to cook a piece of duck.
He then passed out in the next room and said that he did not know what had happened until he was roused by the fire crew.
He was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation but did not require hospital treatment.
His grill was badly damaged in the blaze but the rest of the kitchen only received light smoke damage.
Mr Walters said that he was at first unsure where the alarms were coming from. He said: “I saw John come home and then about 20 minutes later heard alarms start ringing.
“At first I thought it was just a car alarm but then listened closer and realised that it was coming from upstairs.
“I went around and banged on his door but couldn’t get any answer so I started to worry because he lives alone and called 999.
“The crews came around really quickly and tried to use a ladder to get into his kitchen but weren’t able to open it wide enough so they had to ram the door.
“I saw them bring him out unconscious but luckily he was only like that because he’d been drinking.
“I’m glad he’s OK and am relieved that I rang the fire service because who knows what could have happened otherwise.”
Mr Hitchon said: “I don’t remember much of what happened. One moment I was cooking the duck and the next I was being woken up by fire fighters.
“I’m thankful that my neighbour called the fire brigade and guess I was really quite lucky.”
Watch manager Gary Hargreaves said: “Fortunately this gentleman had smoke alarms fitted which alerted the neighbour to the incident. Had they not been in place this could have been a much more serious and potentially life threatening incident.”
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