'It's one of those images you'll never get out of your mind': Brave Stretham residents speak out after saving neighbour from burning building
PUBLISHED: 11:01 30 January 2020
The man who first spotted a resident stranded in a burning building in Stretham said it is "one of those images you will never get out of your mind".
Milton Rowlands, 21, left his home on Berry Green last Friday (January 24) to go for a walk, when he saw flames engulfing the front window of a bungalow.
"That is when I had to come out and scream for help," Milton said.
"I tried to break the window to let more smoke out and to breathe.
"It was one of those weird moments where you just went in and had to act."
Milton's calls for help were heard by neighbours Jamie Dama, 33 who was getting ready for bed, and Kevin Jugg, 52, who pulled the man weighing around 18 stone from the building.
"I ran outside, no shoes on; I could see the bloke laying there on the floor in the front room," Jamie said.
"I remember going up to the front door, thinking to myself 'I cannot do this'. It was so hard to breathe.
"I was grabbing him under his arms and saying 'you will be all right', and I kept slipping.
"We dragged him to the front door and it took six men to lift him. When we came out, fresh air has never felt so good."
Kevin, who has known the man for over 30 years, was alerted to the fire by his daughter before stepping into the blaze.
"She ran into my bedroom; I literally went outside and did not even think," Kevin said.
"Jamie was there and I think he was struggling, so I just grabbed them both.
"You cannot really describe it; it happened so quickly. If it were not for all of us, it would have been a different outcome."
Firefighters used two hose reels and one jet to extinguish the fire, before the man was driven to hospital and treated for serious burns.
But those who risked their lives for their neighbour do not want to be seen as 'heroes'.
"Everyone said we were heroes, but if it wasn't for Milton, it could have been so much worse," Jamie said.
"I am really proud for going in and pulling him out.
"Someone asked me 'would you do it again?' If I was in the same situation, I would be there to try and get him out, if not I would regret it.
"I am more shocked than proud, but I am proud for Kev, Jamie and Reece and the ones that got him out, and proud that everyone came out to help," Milton added.
A fundraiser has been set up by Stretham resident Amanda Coleman to help recover any financial loss to those men or others involved in the incident.