A FIRE chief has praised the brave actions of two members of the public who rescued three children from a burning building.
The severe fire has devastated the first floor flat, in High Street, Repton, but the occupants managed to climb to safety after two men quickly propped a ladder on the front kitchen window and hauled everyone out.
Neil Scott, incident commander at Swadlincote Fire Station said: “At the end of the day the reason they did that is because the family couldn’t get out any other way because the corridor to the outside was severely smoke logged.
“It was a brave thing to do.”
Fire crews have now revealed the blaze started from an ‘an accumulation of flammable items placed around central heating boiler’ such as towels and clothes.
Derbyshire fire service received several calls to the scene on Wednesday just before 4.30pm.
Four pumps from Swadlincote, Burton, Tutbury and Nottingham Road in Derby were dispatched to the scene.
One witness, Salender Singh, manager at Goodbuy Mr Chips, which is two doors away from the flat, was one of the businesses evacuated.
He said: “Someone came to us from over the road saying we had to get out because one of the flats was on fire.
“We saw someone come out with a ladder and they managed to rescue a lady and three children
“The fire brigade came out about 10 minutes later and everyone was okay then.
It was very scary to see but I am relieved that everyone is safe.”
Firefighters took 10 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
Mr Scott said: “There was severe damage to the flat and the roof space.
The three children and woman pulled from the flat were treated at the scene by paramedics but did not require hospital treatment.
“Someone put a ladder in front of the kitchen window and managed to rescue the occupants.
“The woman put blankets down in the kitchen but smoke was penetrating through the doors so could not use the corridor to get out of the building.
“It was a brave thing to do, if you can help someone then you will.
“I wouldn’t discourage this, but very often members of the public helping would put themselves in more danger than us because we are trained and wearing the correct equipment.”
High Street was closed by police while the blaze was tackled but was reopened at 5.45pm, and fire crews left the scene at 6.12pm.