QUICK thinking friends who braved thick smoke and fire as they sought to see if anyone was trapped in a house fire have been praised.

Kelly Wilkinson, 24, and Amanda Gray, 30, of Ferryhill, saw a bungalow on fire at 1pm on Tuesday, March 11.

They peered through the letter box of the house, in Helmsley Close, to see if anyone was trapped inside but were unable to see anything due to the smoke.

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Miss Wilkinson, of Gray Terrace, said: “We heard the fire alarm.

“Smoke was coming through the roof and we didn’t know if anyone was inside. I banged on the door and looked through the letter box but all I could see was smoke.

“A dog was going mad scratching at the inside of the door.

“My sister Lauren Wilkinson and her boyfriend, Jamie Fox, arrived and he tried to break down the back door.

“I think the owner had started to cook sausage and chips and it had caused the fire. It could have spread next door.

“We called the emergency services. What we did was just commonsense and a part of doing your public duty.”

The police forced entry to the house and the fire brigade put out the blaze.

No-one was in the house or hurt but a dog and a cat ran out of the house passed Miss Wilkinson and Miss Gray, 30, of Duncombe Terrace.

PC Ian Beacom, of Ferryhill Beat Office, said: “A lot of people would have just walked by. It’s nice that they helped out.

“Young people have a bad reputation but these two did the right thing. They were unsure if someone was in the house and their actions could have saved a life.”

The homeowner declined to comment.