A man was rescued from a fire in his home thanks to his alert neighbours who heard his smoke alarm going off and dialled 999.
Two crews from Stranton fire station and one from the Headland pulled the man in his 60s from his smoke-filled home in Brenda Road, Hartlepool.
Fire officers say he had fallen asleep while cooking and didn’t hear his smoke alarm going off.
But he’s alive to tell the tale thanks to his quick-thinking neighbours Elaine and Colin Hughes who dialed 999 when they heard his alarm at around 9.50pm on Monday night.
Firefighters quickly arrived, along with police and the ambulance service, and broke down the door to lead the man to safety.
Elaine and Colin were sat watching the TV when they heard the alarm.
The couple, who have three children, 10 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, say they just did what any other person would do.
Elaine, 59, a retired adminitration assistant, said: “We were just sitting watching the TV and I heard the alarm going off. I went outside and was knocking on the door but not getting an answer. The lights weren’t on and I wasn’t sure if he was home, but there was smoke coming out the window and I just dialed 999.
“They were here straight away and they broke the door down to go inside and get him. He was conscious and walked out with them. He seemed okay but he had been breathing in smoke and the paramedics checked him over before they left just to be sure.
“We’ve seen him since and he said he was fine and thanked us for what we did.
“I’m just glad we were home. If it was the following night we’d both have been out and it could have been a lot worse.”
Colin, 67, a retired foundry worker, added: “Neighbours have to look out for each other, and we just did what anyone else would have done.”
Firefighters visited the street yesterday to offer advice to residents and check that people’s smoke alarms were in working order.
Acting watch manager Steven Kitching said: “The man had left a pan on and had fallen asleep. It was the neighbour who raised the alarm. Luckily he did have a working smoke alarm which is what alerted the neighbour. It is vitally important people have a working smoke alarm and that they are tested regularly. People should also remain alert at all times when cooking.”