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Neighbour's quick action saves Portrush woman from burning house

Ladder placed at first-floor window helps her escape from Portrush blaze


Firefighters at the scene of a house fire on Victoria Street in Portrush.

Firefighters at the scene of a house fire on Victoria Street in Portrush.

Firefighters at the scene of a house fire on Victoria Street in Portrush.

A neighbour who heroically saved a woman from a house fire in Portrush has been praised for his quick response.

Firefighters were called to reports of a fire in a house on Victoria Street around 11.15am on Friday.

It is understood a woman living at the house had been walking her dog and returned to find the property in flames.

Four fire appliances attended the scene, with fire fighters wearing breathing apparatus and using four jets to extinguish the blaze.

One female casualty was rescued from the property using a ladder prior to the arrival of the fire crews.

The cause of fire was reported to be accidental ignition and was dealt with by 1pm.

Ulster Unionist Alderman Norman Hillis attended the scene and said he was relieved there was no loss of life.

"I was told a young lady was evacuated out of a first floor window by a neighbour using a ladder, so it's fantastic that they got her out."

He added: "The lady of the house had been out walking her dog, but when she came back she was absolutely devastated.

"She left the dog with a neighbour and luckily the fire service were there very quickly. It's just very difficult for her only to have left the house for a short time and to lose all your possessions.

"I'm just glad no one has been seriously injured but nonetheless I still feel for the family who have lost their house and possessions.

"You can always refurbish a house but the loss of a life is a different matter."

He continued: "These are difficult times at the very best and this is surely a body blow to the family, but I'm quite sure everybody will rally round.

"Certainly some of the folk I was speaking to know her very well. Standing in the street with only the clothes you're wearing is very bad.

"But the big plus is that there hasn't been any loss of life."

Independent councillor Angela Mulholland said she was looking at how help for the family from the local community could be arranged in the coming days.

"It's my understanding that all of their possessions have been completely destroyed which is terrible," she said.

"Sometimes there's a certain amount that can be salvaged during house fires but it looks like nothing has been saved here."

She said the impact of losing everything from a family home within minutes would be "totally unbelievable".

"I know there was an ex-colleague of mine who went through a similar experience, losing everything in a fire. She had a small daughter at the time so I know how devastating that can be for a family.

"But I work in the community and voluntary sector and I know the good thing is that people out there are willing to help and support in any way that they can. I'm confident people will do their utmost."

Adding her praise to the neighbour who intervened this morning she said: "I know that a member of the family had only just gone out for a walk with the dog, so it just must have happened so quickly. If it hadn't been for the quickness of the neighbour it could have been a totally different story. It's totally horrendous."

Belfast Telegraph