A HEROIC neighbour rushed to the aid of an elderly woman who collapsed in her home as it filled with smoke.
Debbie Costello’s actions were hailed as potentially life-saving after she was alerted to the sound of Mavis Bennett’s smoke alarm, in Albion Street, Woodville, yesterday.
Mrs Bennett, 80, stumbled in panic as she attempted to attend to her cooking which had began to burn, filling the kitchen with smoke.
Unable to get up, she lay terrified until Mrs Costello arrived.
Neil Scott, watch manager at Swadlincote Fire Station, said if Mrs Bennett did not have a smoke alarm, the result could have been a lot different.
Mrs Bennett said: “I dread to think what would have happened if didn’t have a smoke alarm.
“When I heard the smoke alarm I was quite frightened and I just wanted it to turn off.
“I tried to get to my walker in the living room but fell on the floor and couldn’t get back up. I panicked a bit.”
Mrs Costello said: “I put my ear up to the wall and realised it was coming from next door. I went round the back of house and saw she was lying on floor.”
The 35-year-old said she immediately opened the windows in the kitchen in an attempt to clear the smoke.
She was unable to move Mrs Bennett, so waited with her until crews arrived.
She said: “By that time I had called the fire service. I went into the house, opened all the windows and took the pan off the stove because even I was choking, the smoke was that bad.
“I was a bit shook up but Mavis was very calm. It upset me a bit.”
Mrs Bennett was carried out of the house by firefighters and given oxygen. She was assessed at the scene but did not require hospital treatment.
The pensioner, who was alone in the house at the time, added: “It’s a good job I have got such good neighbours.
“I was calm but felt a bit guilty because of all the people that had turned up for me.”
Smoke alarms were fitted in Mrs Bennett’s home about a year ago.
Swadlincote watch manager Neill Scott said: “Luckily she was on the floor so was breathing relatively clean air.
“If she didn’t have a smoke alarm, she could have fallen asleep and could have been breathing in a lot of toxic smoke and it could have been fatal.
“It was a good thing she had the smoke alarm fitted by us. It may have saved her life.”