Mystery fire hero is unveiled

A FORMER soldier today told of the moment he saved the lives of two young women after rescuing them from a burning building.

A FORMER soldier today told of the moment he saved the lives of two young women after rescuing them from a burning building.

Brave Michael Smith wrapped himself in wet towels and clothing before dashing into a block of flats which were engulfed in flames.

But for weeks he has been the nameless passer-by who raised the alarm and saved two women before disappearing into the night.

Today, finally he has come forward to tell the story of what happened.

The 43-year-old said he first raised the alarm after spotting the fire spreading through the block of six flats in Jasmine Close, Trimley St Martin, just before 12.15am on July 17.

After alerting the fire brigade he woke a 20-year-old woman inside one of the first floor flats and then caught her after she was forced to jump from a first-floor window.

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He also saved another young woman from the same flat, before helping police reach a man in another flat who had been sleeping and oblivious to the blaze.

Mr Smith, who served in the Falklands during an eight-year stint with the Royal Green Jackets, said: “I was walking home when I saw the fire.

“I went home and wrapped myself in wet clothing and went back into the building.

“There were flames everywhere and the heat was intense, but I went into auto-pilot.

“I didn't do it for the glory, it was natural instinct.”

The father-of-five, a recovering heroin addict, said he learned the rescue techniques he employed from television programmes and from his army training.

The fire broke out in the stairwell of the building after a settee or chair either caught alight or was deliberately set on fire.

Police launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze, which, a spokesman said today, remains on-going.

The three first floor flats, including one which was unoccupied, suffered extensive smoke damage, with the repair bill estimated at about £20,000.

Anyone with information about the fire should contact Pc Scott Hard at Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

Do you know a have-a-go hero? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Flashback

BRAVE Pc Tim Walker was the second hero of the Trimely flat blaze, fearlessly pulling a man from the burning building.

Mr Walker climbed a ladder into a smoke-logged flat before rousing a sleeping resident and leading him to safety.

The 40-year-old played down his heroics insisting: “I saw something that needed to be done and I did it.”

Mr Walker, who lives in Needham Market, said: “I was one of the first to arrive and it was immediately obvious it was going to be a big fire because the place was already well alight.

“I found a ladder and noticed there was an open window. I climbed the ladder and saw there was a man inside who was asleep but beginning to wake up on the sofa. The room was full of smoke.

“I roused the man and persuaded him to come outside. I had to help him down the ladder because he clearly needed some assistance.”

What to do in the case of a fire:

Alert everyone

Make sure everyone in the house knows about the fire - shout and get everyone together.

Get everyone out

You should have an escape route planned that everyone in your house is familiar with.

If your clothes catch fire don't run around

You will only fan the flames and make them burn faster

If you're on the ground floor, go out of a window - throw bedding or cushions onto the ground outside to break your fall

If you can't open the window, use a heavy object to break it at the bottom corner - cover any jagged edges with clothing, a towel or a blanket.

Call 999

Once you're out and safe, use a mobile phone, a neighbour's phone, or a phone box to provide the emergency services with the address.

Don't go back in

You should find somewhere safe to wait near the building. If there's someone still inside, wait for the Fire and Rescue Service to arrive.