'These women saved his life' - Hen do heroes hailed after pulling man from burning flat on way back from night out
PUBLISHED: 15:01 23 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:06 24 June 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
A bride-to-be and her best friend have been hailed as heroes after they saved a man from a burning building on their way home from a hen party.
Care assistants, Kayleigh Brown and Harriot Woods, kicked down the door of a burning flat and pulled an elderly man to safety after hearing a smoke alarm on their walk home in North Walsham at 3am.
Miss Brown, 21, was still sporting her bride-to-be sash and veil as the drama unfolded.
And Miss Woods, 20, then rushed back into the smoke-filled top floor property in search of a child thought to be trapped inside.
The friends were walking home from Miss Brown's hen do in the town when they heard a smoke alarm going off in Thomas Dix Court in the early hours of Sunday.
"We looked at the window we were walking past and we could see smoke coming out the window of this one flat," Miss Brown said.
"I phoned 999 and Harriot kicked the door down and we managed to get him out safely.
"It was filled with smoke. We had to help him down the stairs.
"He was an elderly gentleman and he went to hospital - we don't know how long he was in the smoke for."
The man then told his rescuers he believed there was a seven-year-old girl trapped inside, which prompted Miss Woods to dash back inside.
"I just ran straight up the stairs to the right where the rooms were," she said.
"I'm shouting for this person but I had to come back down because I couldn't hear anything.
"My arms started burning, it was full of smoke. You couldn't even see the flames."
And she added: "It was instinct - regardless of the age that person was. I think my adrenaline just kicked in.
"He said there may be a child in the flat - I thought, if I had a sister or if that was my little brother."
And the bride-to-be, who waited for the fire brigade with the man, praised her friend's bravery.
Miss Brown said: "She ran up into the flat regardless of the smoke and the fire and tried to find this little girl.
"She couldn't hear anything and came back down - we had to wait for the fire brigade.
"There was smoke coming out of all of the windows.
"I could see the lights when they were on their way and it felt like a really long time."
Sirens and smoke woke residents after the flat blaze broke out in the early hours.
Ben Wright, 24, who lives at the opposite end of the estate, woke up at around 3:30am because of flashing blue lights which he had initially attributed to a thunderstorm.
He said: "The were police cars, fire engines and paramedics everywhere."
Thomas Dix Court is a small of development of flats just off Pound Road in North Walsham.
The fire started in a first floor flat and news of the rescue soon circulated around the estate.
Mr Wright added: "Apparently two girls were walking back from the pub and noticed smoke. I heard one of them was wearing a veil, I think they were on a hen party or something."
Neighbours said that the man lived alone and was in his 70s.
'We want to refer them for an award' - hen do heroes praised for actions
The lead firefighter in charge of the emergency response said the two women deserved to win awards for their bravery.
Stefan Rider, from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, described the women as heroes, and said without their intervention, it could have been a different story
"These women saved his life. If they hadn't stepped in this story could have had a tragic ending," he said.
"They deserve recognition for their bravery and everyone is thankful for their actions."
The two women suffered minor smoke inhalation, and Miss Woods had a slight cut to her leg.
- Nominations for the EDP's Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2019 were opened on Friday, June 14.