A woman who nearly died in a devastating house fire has spoken of the moment she was rescued by Accrington firefighter Colin Western on the last day of his 25-year career.
Mother-of-two Susan Kay, was losing consciousness when she was pulled from her bedroom in Petre Crescent, Rishton, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.
Mrs Kay said: "I woke up shortly after 3am and, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what was going on. I tried to get out of my bedroom which is at the back of the house, but something was blocking the door.
"I tried shouting out of the bedroom window, but I knew nobody would be able to hear me.
"Still at this stage I don’t think I really knew what was going on. The smoke was so thick I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.
"Eventually, I managed to move what had fallen in front of the door and get into the front bedroom. I couldn’t get downstairs because of the fire. I opened the window and literally screamed for my life."
Mrs Kay, 49, managed to wake up her neighbours, who alerted the police and fire brigade.
She was alone in the house apart from her eight-year-old Westie dog called Ollie.
She added: "My neighbours were amazing, especially Neil Mounsey who lives across the road. He got a ladder and came and stayed with me until the firemen rescued me. It wasn’t until after the fire I learnt he was petrified of heights. Without him, I’m not sure I would have made it through this.
"I remember the police coming and trying to get into the house, the smoke at that point was so bad I started to lose consciousness. I sat down and I honestly thought this was it and that it had beaten me. But I thought about my children and the next thing I knew the fireman grabbed me and pulled me out of the house."
Hero Colin, 51, had been in the fire service since he was 26 and the call out to Petre Crescent was the last job of his career.
He entered the house with his colleague Julian Warwick wearing breathing apparatus and searched the house until he found Susan.
After he pulled her out of the fire, he rushed back in to rescue Ollie the dog, but sadly it was too late.
Mrs Kay added: "Thinking back now I realise it was the fire alarms that woke me up. I had only had them fitted the week before by the fire brigade. I am in no doubt that if I had not had them fitted I wouldn’t be here now.
"I’ve lost everything, all my possessions, but they can be replaced. I can’t thank Colin and Julian enough for what they did for me. I just can’t think of anything sufficient enough to give them, as a thank you for saving my life."
Since the fire Colin and Susan have spoken on the phone.
Susan is temporarily living at Sparth House Hotel, in Clayton-le-Moors, while waiting for her insurance company to find her other accommodation.
Work on her house is expected to take six months to complete.
Colin said: "By coincidence I have found out that Susan works with my son. She has actually been in and left me a card and present.
"Even though it was my last night at work we mustn’t forget this was a very traumatic incident for Susan. I am just glad she is OK."