HOUSE BLAZE: Prompt action by neighbours saves couples lives. (Check this title again)
PROMPT ACTION by neighbours saved the lives of a couple and their four children when a fire broke out in an Upper Brynamman house on Monday night.
The occupants, John and Linda Hunter, were alerted by district nurse Mrs. Mary Rogers, who ran to the Cwmgarw Road house after learning that smoke was pouring out of a downstairs windows, while her husband Nigel telephoned the fire brigade.
The Hunters' next door neighbour, Mrs. Teresa Williams, also escaped after another neighbour broke open her back door and went upstairs to find her.
The Hunter family, from Lower Tumble, had rented their house from Mrs. Williams since Christmas. After the blaze, the ground floor was gutted and they were forced to move to temporary accommodation in Ammanford. Mrs. Williams's house was also damaged. John (46) and Linda (31) were together in a downstairs room and were unaware of the fire which had broken out in an empty room across the hall. Their four children, Zoe (14), Mark (13), Am (12) and Michaela (8) were all asleep upstairs.
After being alerted by Mrs. Rogers the couple were able to bring down the children and evacuate the house through the back door before the fire, which later spread next door, took hold.
Another neighbour, Mr. Ranjan Kumar, entered Mrs. Williams's house and alerted her. She was sleeping in a back bedroom and knew nothing of the danger. In his efforts to break open her back door, Mr. Kumar sustained a badly cut finger and needed medical attention.
Mr. Rogers, a freelance photographer, told the Guardian: ‘We heard a knock on our front door at 11.15pm. A couple walking by had seen smoke coming out of a downstairs window of the Hunter's house, a few doors from us.
"My wife went there immediately, knocked on the door and found the occupants were completely unaware of the fire. There were children sleeping upstairs and they all got out straight away. Meanwhile I telephoned the fire brigade, but the fire took hold."
Mr. Hunter said later. "I made the mistake of opening the door of the room where the fire was and was confronted with a wall of flame."
Mrs. Hunter expressed her gratitude to those who had helped save the family's lives.
"‘We want to thank all the neighbours and the emergency services for their quick thinking and quick response, which averted a tragedy,"' she said.
A fire brigade spokesman said Mr. Rogers's call was received at 11.20pm and fire engines from Ammanford and Pontardawe were dispatched to the scene, the first arriving at the blaze 11 minutes later, when the ground floor was well alight.
Five minutes later the fire had spread to the next door house. The fire was brought under control and no one was injured.
RESCUE… Teenager praised for saving woman
A TEENAGER has emerged as one of the heroes of a fire which almost claimed the lives of three adults and four children.
Thomas Tartin Jones (19), led an elderly woman to safety when fire broke. He has been thanked and praised by the woman and her family.
Thomas broke the side window of Mrs. Teresa Williams's house in Cwmgarw Road, Upper Brynamman, fought his way upstairs through thick smoke and led Mrs. Williams out of the building and to the safety of a neighbour's house.
The incident happened when the house next door caught fire and the blaze spread to Mrs. Williams as described on the front page of last week's South Wales Guardian.
The young hero, known to his pals as Thomas, but to his mum as Martin, works as an apprentice at Swelco 80, a Cwmgors engineering company.
His mother Susan told the Guardian what happened. "When the fire took hold, my husband Wyn and another neighbour, Mr. Ranjan Kumar, went to Mrs. Williams's back door to try and gain entry,"' she said.
"They broke down the back door but were beaten back by the thin thick smoke.
"Meanwhile, Martin had broken the side window and had got into the house. "
Mr. Kumar cut his hand badly trying to rescue Mrs. Williams.
Afterwards Mrs. Williams and her son Paul thanked Martin for what he had done.
As revealed in last week's Guardian, the fire started in the house next door, where the Hutton family and their four children live.
They were alerted to the danger by neighbour Mrs. Mary Rogers, and escaped the blaze unhurt.