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Off-duty firefighter honoured for Gateshead house rescue
6:51pm Tuesday 17th December 2013 in News
AN off-duty firefighter who saved the life of his neighbour has been presented with a bravery award.
Andy Lane forced his way into a burning house in Gateshead and crawled through the building to rescue a woman trapped inside.
For his act of bravery, the 37-year-old has now been awarded a Meritorious Conduct Award by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority.
The drama happened as Mr Lane, a watch manager at South Shields, was going out to his car on November 21 and noticed a strong smell of smoke.
When he investigates he realised his neighbour’s house in Margaret Terrace in the Highfield area of the town, was on fire.
Mr Lane told a neighbour to dial 999 then tries to get in through a back door. When he heard the woman inside screaming, he smashed a window and got into the house, crawling through the building as the women’s screams grew weaker.
He eventually found the woman and pulled her to safety. She was given oxygen therapy and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and treated for smoke inhalation.
Presenting the award, fire authority chairman Coun Tom Wright said: "He acted selflessly, with courage and great professionalism to help save his neighbour's life without the support or equipment that firefighters rely on to deal with such incidents."
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: "What Andy did was truly heroic and probably saved the lady's life".
Mr Lane said: "Instinct just took over; I only did what I'm sure many of my colleagues would have done too.
"When I heard my neighbour screaming it just spurred me on. It couldn't have been more than 40 seconds that I was in there for but it was incredibly different to doing it whilst wearing fire kit. I'm just grateful there was no one else in the property."
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