‘I did what anyone would do’ – daring Collier Row dad who kicked in door to save pensioner from fire

Hero dad Russell Aiken: 'I just grabbed her arm, pulled her out and chucked a bucket of water over t

Hero dad Russell Aiken: 'I just grabbed her arm, pulled her out and chucked a bucket of water over the flames' - Credit: Archant

Kicking in a front door to save a stricken 91-year-old from a fire in her home probably goes beyond the call of duty for a neighbour.

But that didn’t stop dad-of-three Russell Aiken dashing across the street to make his daring rescue when alarm bells sounded last week.

The 56-year-old, of Ascension Road, Collier Row, was working in his loft when he heard the commotion and sprung into action.

“She lives opposite me,” he said. “So I went over there. The window looked a bit cloudy, and I could see a flame in the corner.

“So I rang the bell and then kicked the door in.


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“She was stood in the kitchen near the fire.

“I just grabbed her arm, pulled her out and chucked a bucket of water over the flames.”

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He said the fire hadn’t grown very large by the time he made his rescue, but the room was filled with smoke.

After the incident, both he and the elderly woman, Charlotte Wood, were treated for smoke inhalation, with the shaken Mrs Wood being taken to hospital.

Mr Aiken, a carpenter, added his elderly neighbour was a “tough” old woman, who once probably would have fought off the blaze herself, but she now has mobility issues.

She thanked him profusely after the incident, he said, adding: “If the fire was bigger I might have thought twice about going in – but to be honest I just did what anyone would do.”

Fire crews attended even though the blaze had been doused with three buckets of water before they arrived.

One firefighter said two engines were scrambled after a call was received at about 1.30pm. The cause of the blaze, thought to be accidental, is under investigation, he added.

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