Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bus driver saves naked blaze victim

Firefighters attend a fire in Braintree, Essex (Essex Fire and Rescue Service/PA)
Firefighters attend a fire in Braintree, Essex (Essex Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

A quick-thinking bus driver came to the rescue by manoeuvring his vehicle to help a naked man escape from a burning building.

The man was thought to have been in the shower when the fire started in his third-floor flat above a cafe in Braintree, Essex, and he found himself trapped.

Passers-by flagged down off-duty bus driver Andy Waterman, who positioned his double-decker close to the roof of the flat, allowing the man to jump about 10ft (3m) to safety.

Firefighters then arrived and pitched a ladder to help him to the ground.

Mr Waterman, from West Mersea, is now to receive a commendation.

He said: "A group of people started flagging me down and they were asking me to stop.

"I asked them what the problem was and they said a man was stuck on the roof of his flat because it was on fire. I drove nearer and all I could see was thick, black smoke.

"I saw the man and thought 'We've got to get him to safety'.

"The police told me that I did a good job. It wasn't until I got home that someone said that I had saved a life.

"I have been driving buses for eight years and nothing like this has happened before. I am just pleased the man is alive."

Speaking about the blaze, which happened on Wednesday evening, incident commander Dave Barritt said: "The man was trapped on the third floor and there was no way he could get out.

"If the bus hadn't been there I don't know how he would have escaped - the fall could easily have killed him. The bus driver's actions saved this man's life.

"It's an unusual rescue, but it was extremely effective."

Eight fire crews were called to the scene and took about eight hours to tackle the flames.

Adrian Jones, managing director at First Essex, which employs Mr Waterman, said: " We are very proud of Andy - he was in the right place at the right time. We are pleased to hear the man is OK and we wish him a quick recovery."

Press Association

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