Pensioner in flames as he flees burning house
A pensioner who was in flames as he fled his burning Londonderry home was today critically ill in hospital.
Horrified eyewitnesses said they tried to help the man as he escaped the burning building engulfed in flames.
The 74-year-old sustained significant burns in the horrific blaze at his Rose Court home in the Gobnascale area of the Waterside yesterday afternoon.
The victim — named locally as George Boyle — was transferred from Altnagelvin Hospital to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he is being treated for his injuries. The fire is being treated as accidental.
Sinn Fein councillor for the area Lynn Fleming said that horrified residents tried to help Mr Boyle after he fled from the house with his clothes on fire.
She said: “The man was in flames when he came out of the house. The neighbours next door got him into their garden and they were throwing buckets of water round him before before they could even deal with him.”
Ms Fleming said the man was seen coming off a bus in the area less than an hour before the blaze.
She described Mr Boyle as a “very quiet man” who lived alone and kept pigeons and dogs.
“Residents said he was saying that he needed to look for his dogs,” she said.”The house is completely gutted. It is amazing he even got out.”
Residents described kicking in
the front door before realising Mr Boyle was already outside, but on fire.
One of the neighbours, who ran to the scene, said: “I didn't know what we were going into.
“I was about to go in when my son said ‘don’t go in’ — the whole house was on fire.”
Fire And Rescue Service station commander for the Londonderry area Jonathan Tate was among those who arrived at the scene at around 3.30pm yesterday.
He said: “On arrival we found the ground and first floors were alight. The occupier was out of the house and taken to hospital by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.”
A PSNI spokesman today confirmed the elderly victim sustained significant burns.