Pensioner saves neighbour's life

Modest Katie Deaves plays down her act of heroism as just doing what comes naturally.But today the modest 81-year-old is being hailed a life saver after coming to the aid of a woman who was covered in flames after a bizarre accident at her flat in Woodcock Road.

IPSWICH: Modest Katie Deaves plays down her act of heroism as just doing what comes naturally.

But today the modest 81-year-old is being hailed a life saver after coming to the aid of a woman who was covered in flames after a bizarre accident at her flat in Woodcock Road.

Mrs Deaves rushed to her neighbour's aid after she heard someone banging on her door in her block of flats on the Chantry estate and was terrified to see her neighbour, Gill Ferguson's shoulders and torso alight.

Mrs Deaves, a former sister in St John Ambulance, urgently rolled Gill in the snow, to douse the fire as it swept over her body.

She said: “As I went towards her she was shouting 'Come and help me quickly Katie, do something, it's hurting.'

“I opened the door and saw this woman lying in the snow. When she tried to stand up, flames were coming up from her clothing behind her shoulders.”

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Mrs Deaves urged her friend to lie down in the snow to smother the flames, but Gill was in such pain, she couldn't lie still.

“At first, I just didn't recognise her,” Mrs Deaves said. “With the burns on her face, she was unrecognisable.

“She was in such pain, she just couldn't ease it.”

Mrs Deaves explained Gill liked to cut her own hair and wanted to keep it short so she had decided to singe the ends with a match to stop it from growing.

Unfortunately, the match had dropped on to her clothing which caught light, leaving Gill with severe burns to her body.

Once the flames were out, Mrs Deaves called the emergency services who initially took Gill to Ipswich Hospital, from where she was immediately transferred to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

It is thought Mrs Deaves' actions probably saved her neighbour's life.

“I am not a heroine,” She said. “I just did what was necessary at the time.

“I still can't take it in. I never thought I would be a hero, I'm just old Katie.”

Gill's two daughters have since visited Katie and presented her with some flowers to thank her for her life-saving actions.