Youngsters returning from school prom among first on scene to raise alarm and help evacuate residents from burning building

L-R Vladislavs Nedaskovskis, Diarmuid Devine and Alyson Stapleberg

L-R Vladislavs Nedaskovskis, Diarmuid Devine and Alyson Stapleberg - Credit: Archant

A pair of selfless Hinchingbrooke School students ran into a burning building to help raise the alarm and guide residents to safety on Friday evening.

The Elm Tree Court retirement block, in Huntingdon, caught fire at around 10.20pm on Friday, with dozens of residents forced from their homes and out into the street as smoke poured from the building.

Diarmuid Devine and Vladislavs Nedaskovski, both 16, were walking back from their school prom when they saw signs of fire.

They both then ran towards the complex, run by McCarthy and Stone, in a bid to raise the alarm and help residents escape, as they couldn’t see any emergency services at the scene.

Diarmuid said: “We ran towards the building because we couldn’t see any fire engines or police around. When we got there, there were a few other residents from around the area trying to get into the building. We couldn’t get in because there was an intercom on the door which keeps it locked.

“So we decided to go around the side and kick the door down, once I had kicked it down, we ran inside to try and get all the residents out the building.”

Vladislavs, who was still in his suit, ran straight to the top floor to check if anybody was there.

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He said: “I didn’t even think about it, I knew that the fire was serious and that we needed to get everyone out. Luckily on the top floor there wasn’t anyone living up there, and I could see the fire behind a door. It was really hot up there and that’s when I realised how serious the fire was and that we really needed to get everyone out.

“We were banging on all the residents’ doors telling them that they needed to get out straight away, and escorting them out of the building.”

Alyson Stapleberg, 20, who was visiting a friend, also ran in and helped with the fire along with a few others.

She said: “I would just hope that anyone would have done what we did in that situation. There was no time to think and we all just ran in and tried to save everyone.”