AN ex-fireman's son has done his father proud by rescuing two neighbours from their blazing home.

Billy Forster, 33, awoke in the early hours of yesterday to the smell of smoke and the sound of his neighbours' shouts for help.

He rushed to the bedroom window and saw Janice Tempest, 48, leaning out of the window opposite.

Realising that she and her son, James, 20, were trapped by a fire downstairs at their home in Moorsley Road, Hetton-le-Hole, he ran to fetch his ladders.

The dad-of-two, whose father was a part-time firefighter at nearby Fence Houses, said: "My reaction was to get the ladders straight to the window.

"The son did not want to come out because he was concerned about his dogs and the mother was not going to get out until he was out.

"I went up the ladder and helped them out. I just had to help them. It was just a reaction."

Following a telephone call from Mr Forster, who lives with his partner Paula Quarmby and children Kayley, nine, and William, four, firefighters were soon at the scene.

They rescued the two dogs and extinguished the blaze.

Mr and Ms Tempest were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering smoke inhalation, where they were detained yesterday.

Mr Forster said his son, William, who wants to be a fireman, was excited by the incident. "He is daft about fire engines and he was wide awake," he said.

Sub officer Tom Melia, of Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade, said: "The young lad had put something on the cooker and forgotten about it, and there was no smoke alarm.

"Mr Forster did everything right."