South Leeds: Honour for brave bystanders who saved boy trapped by first-floor blaze

RESCUE DUO:  Lee Anderson with Ian Drake who are to be honoured at Hunslet Fire Station.
RESCUE DUO: Lee Anderson with Ian Drake who are to be honoured at Hunslet Fire Station.
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TWO bystanders saved a six-year-old boy from a burning first-floor flat by dangling him out of a window.

Retired Ian Drake, 59, heard the screaming youngster, who was stranded inside a locked upstairs flat after his mother left him home alone.

After he pulled two fire extinguishers from his van and set up a ladder, Lee Anderson also joined the rescue effort and tried to pull the stranded youngster through a foot square window.

After a failed bid to smash the window and pull the boy out, the 34-year-old held the choking child’s torso away from the smoke until firefighters broke the flat’s door down.

Now the pair are to be honoured with a bravery award next month after the dramatic rescue.

Mr Anderson, who is unemployed, told the YEP: “He was shouting and screaming, it was just shock and being told he was locked in there on his own was just strange. They could have been bringing him out in a body bag if the worst came to the worst.”

The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was vomiting and covered in soot when Lee hauled his head and shoulders out of the opening. His mother, who left him at home for misbehaving, was arrested by police after she had left the house for around 45 minutes to go shopping.

At Leeds Crown Court she was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, with a 30-day activity requirement for causing unnecessary suffering to a child.

Mr Drake said: “It could have been nasty but I’m not a drama queen, it didn’t turn out that way thank God. We’re not brave – the bravest man in the world without the right equipment is completely impotent.”

The boy had set curtains in a bedroom in the flat alight on September 21.

The men will receive District Commanders Certificates of Appreciation from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service at Hunslet Fire Station on December 1.

Station commander Peter Lau said: “Lee and Ian’s quick and decisive actions stopped this incident becoming a very tragic event.”


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