'We had to get out or it would be too late' - heroic man saves stranger from burning building
A heroic man risked his own life to rescue a stranger from a house fire.
Brave Brian Boyle faced choking, toxic smoke and flames to help Jane Conway from her neighbouring house at Lee Heights in Co Wexford earlier this month.
He said that he first realised something was wrong when he went outside of his home to get something from his van and could smell smoke.
Brian (49) explained: "I looked over to where it was coming from and saw flames coming from a house. There was a large group of people there.
"Someone said there was a woman in there and after getting a leg up on to the wall I saw the door handle move, so I was sure there was someone in there."
Brian then made the split-second decision to try to save the woman from the burning building.
"I went inside, but I there was so much smoke that I couldn't see anything. The flames were coming from the sitting room into the kitchen.
"I saw the shape of a girl slumped over. I could see the flames flickering and reflecting on her glasses."
Brian managed to help the woman and her dog to safely escape the house.
He later found out that the woman was his neighbour Jane Conway, who he had not met before.
He said: "She was crying and very distraught and it took me three or four minutes to get her out. I remained calm throughout and this helped.
"I said to her it's time for us to get out or it will be too late."
Brian, a self-employed tree feller and garden maintenance man, has had some first aid training and this helped him deal with what was a very dangerous and life-threatening situation.
"After I got her out, I thought that I wouldn't like to face that situation again," he said
Gardaí are still investigating the cause of the fire, which caused extensive damage.
Fire chief Paul L'Estrange said an emergency call was made at 8.08 pm on January 10 t to say that "petrol had been thrown through the letterbox of the house and a woman and a dog had been evacuated through the back door".
Mr L'Estrange said two units left the station at 8.15 pm and were in attendance by 8.21 pm.
He said that when the crews arrived, they found the fire had spread from the front of the house into the attic conversion and slates were removed from both ends of the roof to extinguish the fire.
"The fire was successfully extinguished and the crews left the scene at 10.02 pm," said Mr L'Estrange.
He said the gardaí and ambulance service were in attendance and the woman had been removed from the house before the fire service arrived.
A garda spokesman confirmed to Independent.ie that nobody has been arrested in connection with the fire and that investigations are ongoing.
Council workers erected protective barriers around the fire and water-damaged house the next morning.
Next-door neighbour Nicola Mann said she spotted the fire when she let the dog out shortly after 8 pm.
"I ran to another neighbour's house and they called the fire brigade," said Nicola, who lives in the house with her son and her father. "By the time I got back to my house it was full of smoke," she said.
Nicola said that if she hadn't spotted the fire, it could have spread to her house with disastrous consequences.
The house is badly smoke-damaged and piles of ruined possessions, soft toys and clothes were piled up in black bags outside.