St Neots 75-year-old rescues wife from fire

A 75-YEAR-OLD man became a firefighting hero when he rescued his 91-year-old wife from their burning bedroom and then returned to extinguish the flames. Maldwyn Young went to his wife s rescue after he heard the smoke alarm go off at their home in Ferrars

A 75-YEAR-OLD man became a firefighting hero when he rescued his 91-year-old wife from their burning bedroom and then returned to extinguish the flames.

Maldwyn Young went to his wife's rescue after he heard the smoke alarm go off at their home in Ferrars Avenue, Eynesbury.

The retired welder was cooking breakfast when the alarm sounded. He told The Hunts Post he rushed upstairs to see smoke pouring out of the bedroom where his wife, Lillian, was in bed.

A small convector heater left on the dressing table had burst into flames at about 9.30am on Saturday, February 20.

"I rushed up stairs, hoiked Lillian into her stair lift and brought her down," he said. "Then I went back up and disconnected the heater and put the fire out by putting a damp cloth over it.

"Then I went back up a third time to open the window to let the smoke out. They say you should never go back to the fire and I got told off by the fire brigade later, but you can't let your house burn down if you can put the fire out."

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He added: "It was sheer instinct, you are not really thinking in this situation, you just do what you have to do. If I had been thinking, I would have taken a fire extinguisher upstairs with me the first time I went up and found a mask, but you don't have time to do things like that.

"It was just a matter of grabbing her and just going."

A neighbour called the fire brigade and the couple were taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon where they were given a check-up.

Mr Young said: "We have three very good quality smoke alarms - including one under the bed that vibrates - and it was the smoke alarm going off that saved Lillian's life - otherwise I wouldn't have known there was a fire. She would have been killed by the smoke."

Mrs Young, who was a midwife for 40 years, has lived in the house since her parents moved there with her and her brother when she was six.

She said: "I wasn't worried. I knew it would be all right. He is always a hero to me."

The couple, who have been married for 17 years, spent the rest of the day in hospital.

Dave Thorpe, a firefighter at St Neots fire station said: "Mr Young should be incredibly proud of his heroic actions. The fact that he was able to get his wife downstairs to safety in such arduous conditions should be commended.

"However, if it wasn't for the presence of a working alarm in the property, he might not have realised that there was a fire until it was too late.

"I hope that this incident encourages other people in Huntingdonshire to realise the importance of having a working smoke alarm in their home."

INFORMATION: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service offer a free home fire safety check. Call 0800 9179994.

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