Belfast Telegraph

Police praised by medic for saving woman from fire

By Anna Maguire

A paramedic last night praised the bravery of police officers who saved a 90-year-old woman from her burning west Belfast home.

A neighbour alerted police as the blaze engulfed the pensioner’s Laburnum Green home in Twinbrook shortly before 5.30am yesterday morning.

The elderly victim was unconscious when officers dragged her from an upstairs bedroom.

She was in a critical condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital last night suffering from serious burns.

A number of officers who attempted to rescue the woman in the early hours of yesterday morning had to turn back because of the force of the fire.

Other officers — who managed to pull the woman to the foot of the staircase — were nearing collapse when paramedics arrived and finally pulled her to safety.

Five were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by firefighters and paramedics. Another was treated for a minor burn.

The fire is being treated by the authorities as accidental. It is the fourth serious house fire in Northern Ireland in the past week, with three fatalities.

Last night, a paramedic who attended the blaze praised officers involved in the rescue operation.

In a statement issued by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, the paramedic said: “The PSNI officers ... were absolutely brilliant and acted with tremendous courage — putting their own lives on the line to ensure the safety of this elderly lady.”

John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service added: “NIAS would also like to praise the bravery of these officers who entered the premises and attended the scene.

“All members of the emergency services are there to selflessly provide care and protection to every member of our community whenever they need us.”

Background

Yesterday’s blaze was the fourth serious fire in the province over the past week.

Peggy McGarvey (78) died after flames engulfed her Linseys Hill bungalow in Armagh on Tuesday morning.

Last Tuesday, Sadie Ferguson (78) died in a house fire in Dromara, Co Down.

Later that night in Co Antrim, 64-year-old Albert Kane died near Dervock.

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