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Man saved from house fire

PUBLISHED: 19:33 02 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:44 02 March 2010

EMERGENCY call handler Sara Armstrong was today praised for helping save a man's life as fire ripped through his house.

Ms Armstrong took a call from a frantic man in the early hours of this morning who had taken refuge in the bathroom as his Creeting St Peter home filled with smoke.

EMERGENCY call handler Sara Armstrong was today praised for helping save a man's life as fire ripped through his house.

Ms Armstrong took a call from a frantic man in the early hours of this morning who had taken refuge in the bathroom as his Creeting St Peter home filled with smoke.

She kept him on the line until firemen emerged through the smoke to rescue him and gave him vital advice which probably saved his life.

Fire service assistant divisional officer Carl Francis said: "Her role can't be overstated.

"There was a period between when the call was made at 3.51am and fire crews arriving at 4.03am when she kept him on the line.

"For her, that time seemed like ages. That period of time would have been enough for somebody to asphyxiate."

The rescued man, who has not been named, had black marks around his nose and mouth – telltale signs of smoke inhalation.

But he was able to keep breathing after following advice to shut the door, wedge wet towels around the frame and getting his head out of the velux window to breathe clean air.

Mr Francis had nothing but praise for the White Watch call handler. And he was also delighted with the response of his firefighters to the fire in Pound Lane.

Stowmarket fire crew arrived on the scene in just 12 minutes, despite being alerted at home and having to get to the station.

The Needham Market crew arrived just a minute later. By the time Mr Francis arrived six minutes later, the trapped man had been plucked from the building by Stowmarket firefighters Jason Myers and Carl Theobald.

Despite the success of the operation, Mr Francis was quick to point out the man had a lucky escape. He had a smoke alarm, but it failed to go off.

And it seemed the likely cause of the blaze was clothes left drying on a storage heater.

Mr Francis advised all homeowners to check their smoke alarms regularly and to ensure a good gap for air circulation when clothes were left drying.

N Have you had a lucky escape with the help of the emergency services? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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