Neighbours rescue man from smoke-filled Halifax flat

Dot Murphy and Douglas Robertshaw at the scene of the fire in Woodside View, Boothtown.
Dot Murphy and Douglas Robertshaw at the scene of the fire in Woodside View, Boothtown.

Hero neighbours rescued a man who collapsed as he tried to escape a smoke-filled flat.

Luke Sirmond returned to his mother’s flat at Woodside View, Boothtown, Halifax, after a night out.

A chip pan caught fire shortly before midnight on Wednesday and the property quickly filled with smoke.

Mr Sirmond, aged about 20, tried to flee the flat but collapsed behind the front door.

Douglas Robertshaw, aged 60, and Dot Murphy, 70, then came to the rescue and possibly saved his life.

They barged the door open and he was helped to safety from the ground floor flat before firefighters arrived.

Mr Sirmond was disorientated and was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics and taken to his sister’s home.

Mrs Murphy lives in an upstairs flat and was in bed when she was woken by her smoke alarm.

Smoke had entered her flat from an open window.

She fled down outside steps and knocked-up Douglas Robertshaw and his wife, Vicky.

Mrs Robertshaw has a key to the entrance hall which was full of smoke but there was no response from knocking on Mr Sirmond’s door.

“We were choking by this time,” said Mrs Murphy.

Mr Robertshaw said he heard coughing coming from the other side of the door which fortunately wasn’t locked.

But, Mr Sirmond was propped up behind it and Mr Robertshaw and Mrs Murphy had to struggle to prise the door open.

“I then lifted him up and he started coming round but was dazed,” said Mr Robertshaw.

There was confusion as to whether there was anyone else in the flat but firefighters, who arrived shortly afterwards, confirmed he was alone.

Three other flats were safely evacuated.

Mrs Murphy said Mr Sirmond had a lucky escape.

“If I had now woken up coughing that lad could be dead,” she said.

“He is a very lucky lad. It was terrible, the smoke was so thick you could not see.”

Mr Robertshaw said Mr Sirmond, who lives in Mixenden, Halifax, had been on a night out.

Firefighters praised the neighbours’ and said Mr Sirmond might not have survived without their help.