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PENSIONER RESCUED FROM BLAZING KITCHEN

PUBLISHED: 16:36 10 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 March 2010

A BUILDER crawled through smoke in a blazing kitchen to rescue a screaming Felixstowe pensioner trapped in the flames.

Bill Haystead, who was visiting his mother-in-law in Springfield Avenue, heard a shrill siren sound at lunchtime on Saturday and initially mistook the smoke alarm for a car alarm.

A BUILDER crawled through smoke in a blazing kitchen to rescue a screaming Felixstowe pensioner trapped in the flames.

Bill Haystead, who was visiting his mother-in-law in Springfield Avenue, heard a shrill siren sound at lunchtime on Saturday and initially mistook the smoke alarm for a car alarm.

"I heard an alarm going off and presumed it was a car. I went and checked and couldn't see anything. I went inside and heard it again and looked through the blinds and saw smoke coming from an open door," he said.

Norfolk man Mr Haystead said he sprinted for the bungalow opposite as smoke billowed from the entrance, and he heard a woman's screams.

"I just went inside on the floor first. I heard her screaming for help. She was standing right beside the oven that was flaming. She could have actually caught alight as she couldn't move, poor girl. She was on a frame."

Mr Haystead told how he got hold of the frail pensioner, believed to be in her 80s, and helped her out of the kitchen on her frame, shutting the door on the fire behind them.

Another neighbour then came to their aid and helped Mr Haystead remove the woman from her home to safety.

"It all happened so quickly. It was hard to get her down the steps. We sat her on the grass and my wife brought a chair out."

The 48-year-old described how the elderly woman thanked him for the rescue as the fire service arrived.

"She grabbed my hand and said 'thanks for getting me out'," he said. "I think she was frightened because she hadn't been able to move. The flames were up to the ceiling."

He added that the he thought car alarms sounded too similar to smoke alarms and there should be a more marked distinction between the two.

Three fire engines attended the Felixstowe blaze after a call at around 12.15pm. The woman was taken to hospital for a check up, by ambulance.

Sub officer David Pedersen, the officer in charge at the scene, said: "When we arrived there was smoke issuing from the bungalow."

He added: "She was suffering from shock and inhaling smoke. There is smoke damage to the property and some damage to the kitchen from the fire.''

The fire service say the cause of the fire is not being treated as suspicious.

Less than half-an-hour earlier, two Woodbridge pensioners were taken to Ipswich hospital after a cooker fire in a kitchen in Old Barrack Road.

The elderly couple, who suffered burns in the blaze, were treated before being released later that afternoon to recover at home. They declined to comment about the incident.

Gary Clark, assistant divisional officer responsible for both Ipswich and Woodbridge, officer in charge at the scene, described how the two elderly people in the house at the time had suffered superficial injuries.

He said: "The chip pan fire spread to the blinds in the kitchen. The damage is mainly smoke damage and burnt blinds.

"The pair suffered damage to their hands, which were superficial injuries, and oxygen therapy was administered. There was a quick response by the crews, they did a good job.''

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