Courage of Leeds neighbour who was inspired by 9/11 heroics EXCLUSIVE

John Brimble, of Seacroft, who smashed a window to rescue his neighbour from a house fire. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
John Brimble, of Seacroft, who smashed a window to rescue his neighbour from a house fire. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
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A man who saved his neighbour’s life when he rescued her from a blaze has been commended by fire chiefs.

John Brimble, of Seacroft in Leeds, smashed a window, entered the heavily smoke-logged building and led her to safety before firefighters arrived to tackle the fire.

The 47-year-old has now been presented with a certificate of appreciation by Gipton station commander Nigel Kirk in recognition of his courageous actions.

The granddad told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I would never have thought of myself as a hero.

“I was shocked when the chief came to see me.”

Mr Brimble was relaxing on the sofa at his partner Debbie’s house on Brooklands Lane, Seacroft, when he spotted the fire.

The woman who lived there was leaning out of an upstairs window and thick black smoke had filled the house.

He said: “I thought ‘wow, I need to get over there and get her out’.

“I had to go in there and had to do whatever I had to do.”

He said the smoke was as black and acrid as if a tyre had been set alight and so intense it had triggered her neighbour’s smoke alarm.

He and another neighbour smashed their way into 
the house, helped her to safety and checked no-one else was inside.

Then Mr Brimble and his partner cancelled their plans so they could support their badly-shaken neighbour, making her comfortable in their home for three hours while the emergency services checked her over and dealt with the fire.

Mr Brimble, who works for military defence company Hesco in Leeds, said: “She kept saying ‘you saved my life’

“It could have been a horrible situation.

“If it wasn’t the fire that killed her it could have been the smoke.”

Mr Brimble said his actions were partly inspired by what he had witnessed living in New York at the time of the 9/11 
terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.

He said: “I never thought I would come to a situation where I had to help someone but seeing those firemen go into those buildings, willing to sacrifice themselves to save people, I thought ‘you’ll need to try and do something similar yourself if the occasion ever pops up’.”

Watch commander John Cavalier, who was in charge of Gipton Red Watch during the incident on April 11, recommended Mr Brimble for recognition by the Fire Service, not because of his bravery and prompt response but because of how he had cared for her afterwards.

He said: “I was quite touched by how neighbourly he and his partner were.”

Watch commander Cavalier said the fire had been in an outhouse attached to the property and it was unclear how it had started.

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