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Heroic taxi driver and passenger saved teenager from Accrington fire

Nasser Hussain and Jemma Kiernan were described as 'selfless and brave' by firefighters

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Jemma Kiernan and Nasser Hussain

A heroic minicab driver and his passenger have been praised after rescuing a teenager from a terrifying house fire.

The drama unfolded after a family-of-six discovered a fire at their home on Ormerod Street in Accrington at around 4pm.

Cabbie Nasser Hussain and his passenger Jemma Kiernan sprang into action after passing the house and spotting flames and smoke coming from a window.

The rest of the family had got themselves out of the house and were alerting the fire brigade, but told Nasser that their 15-year-old daughter, Mehmoona Rabbani, was trapped upstairs in a second floor attic bedroom.

Dad-of-three Nasser, who lives in Accrington with his wife and children, said: “When I went in, I could just about see the fire and the flames.

“It was dark and smoky. Before I knew it, Jemma was behind me with a torch on her phone.

“I was calling for the girl to come out of the room but she wouldn’t, she was too scared. I said ‘if you don’t come, the fire will get us all’. As soon as I saw her wrist in the dark I grabbed it and dragged her out. Thank God Jemma was there, too.”

The cause of the fire, on Thursday, August 30, is not yet known but is under investigation.

Nasser was taking Jemma from her home on Willows Lane to an appointment when they passed the fire, and will forever remember the day – especially as it was his 39th birthday.

He added: “I’m proud of what we did, it feels good. I’m glad we got her out.”

Jemma, 28, said her decision to help was instinctive. She said: “I didn’t think, I just went in. I just did what I’d expect anyone else to do if it was my family.

“We didn’t even look at each other, and we went straight in. If it had been any longer, she would have died.”

Lancashire Fire and Rescue, who arrived at the scene following the rescue, heaped praise on the heroic pair, thanking them for their bravery.

A spokesperson said: “Everyone was able to escape the house, with only the 15-year-old going to hospital for a check over after breathing in smoke. The selfless and brave actions of Mr Hussain and Ms Kiernan prevented firefighters needing to rescue the young girl from the attic room and further injury.”

Recovering at home, Mehmoona told the Observer she was ‘terrified’ during the incident.

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She said: “I was just sat on my bed reading a book, then I heard someone shouting about a fire. When I tried to leave the attic it was just black and full of smoke. I inhaled a lot of smoke. I was terrified and I’ve struggled to sleep since.”

Her sister, Fatimah Rabbani, 19, said she still sees the orange of flames when she closes her eyes. She said: “It will take time to get over it. My grandmother and everyone got out and I was screaming for my sister to get out.”