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Police duo in daring fire rescue

TWO quick-thinking police officers have been hailed as heroes after rescuing an unconscious man from a burning building.

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SCENE of the fire: St Leger Court in Accrington.

TWO quick-thinking police officers have been hailed as heroes after rescuing an unconscious man from a burning building.

Sergeant Martin Knight and PC Dave Williams sprang into action when they saw flames pouring from the kitchen window of a first-floor flat in St Leger Court, Accrington, during the early hours of Thursday.

The pair, who were on patrol, had stopped at a set of traffic lights in nearby Abbey Street when they heard the sound of breaking glass.

They went to investigate and discovered the blaze, believed to have been started by a chip pan.

The officers, based at Accrington Police Station, forced their way into the smoke-filled property by smashing down the door and crawled on their stomachs into the kitchen, which was well alight. They found 35-year-old Sean Regan in the lounge next door and dragged him out to safety.

The plucky pair then returned to the flat, believing a second person was inside, but were beaten back by the flames.

Inspector Julian Platt, of Accrington Police, praised the officers for their bravery. He added: "They had a quick judgement to make and they decided to take decisive action, which undoubtedly saved the life of the occupant."

"They put the safety of the public before their own personal safety and I am obviously very pleased with them."

Nearby residents said Mr Regan had only lived in the flat for a week.

Kassie Marshall, 21, an Accrington and Rossendale College student who lives in the adjacent upstairs flat, said: "We heard a bang and the windows went through. The police had to kick his door in and they pulled him out by his legs."

"He was in shock but he managed to stand up. The guy kept telling the police his mate was in there, so they had to keep going back in. There was no-one else in there though."

Mr Regan was taken to Blackburn Royal Infirmary suffering from smoke inhalation but was later released.

Fire crews spent an hour-and-a-half tackling the blaze, which left the kitchen severely fire-damaged and caused severe smoke damage to the rest of the flat.