THREE men have been hailed as heroes after they ran into a burning flat when they heard another man’s screams inside.
Neighbours Roy Arnold and Wesley Kelly and delivery man Paul Campbell dragged 33-year-old David Jones to safety after he was trapped in his first-floor flat in Crawford Close, Freshbrook, in June this year.
The trio have been recognised for their bravery by Wiltshire Police at a special awards ceremony on Tuesday night and were credited with saving the man’s life without thought for their own safety.
Roy, 37, a full-time carer, said: “We aren’t heroes, we just did our duty as neighbours.”
The trio kicked in the door to the burning property and were met with intense flames and dense, suffocating smoke.
They quickly identified two seats of the fire, one to the left just over the threshold and another to the right.
While Wesley battled to put out the flames with buckets of water, Roy and Paul crawled towards the screams, using door panels to hold back the flames.
The pair attempted to find Mr Jones, reached inside and dragged him through the flames before carrying him down the flight of stairs where he collapsed with severe burns on his hands and arms and was unable to breathe.
Wesley, a 30-year-old ex-soldier, said: “I was ready to go to work when I saw fire coming out of the window so I rushed round there. “We opened the door and the fire put us on our backsides but we knew we had to save the man’s life because we could hear screaming. It was just a reaction as human beings and luckily we managed to pull the guy out to safety.
“I would hope anybody would do the same as we did.”
Roy, who managed to carry the victim from the scene to waiting paramedics despite suffering from smoke inhalation, said: “It was a basic instinct. We all just knew we had to get straight in there and deal with the situation.
“Getting him out was amazing, we just kept shouting and crawling on our hands and knees. We knew he was there so we did not give up and in the end he came to us.”
Paul, who was on his rounds delivering for Parcelforce, said: “It just seemed natural for us to go and help. I don’t feel like a hero.”
A police spokesman said: “Despite the clear and evident danger, Mr Kelly, Mr Arnold and Mr Campbell demonstrated the most outstanding bravery and courage in rescuing a man from a building that was well and truly ablaze.
“It is certain that without their intervention the victim would have perished at the scene.”
l David Jones pleaded guilty to a charge of arson reckless as to whether life was endangered when he appeared at Swindon Crown Court last month.
He started the blaze at his home, which is owned by the borough council, in Crawford Close, Freshbrook, on June 14.
Judge Douglas Field adjourned the case to October 12, to allow for probation and psychiatirc reports to be completed and remanded Jones into custody.