Two Leeds city centre workers came to the aid of a couple who escaped a smoke-logged holiday flat and found themselves stuck outside with only their nightclothes on.
Receptionist Cathy Sutcliffe and team leader Mark Chipchase were walking work at Yorkshire Housing yesterday when they saw smoke billowing from flats above the Viaduct Showbar in Lower Briggate.
Fearing a fire was raging inside the building, they alerted the emergency services at around 7.35am and then helped those inside to get to safety.
When fire crews from Leeds and Hunslet arrived on the scene, they discovered a small fire contained in a takeaway restaurant but said smoke had filled the flats above.
Mark said: “I saw the smoke and crossed over the road – it was getting thicker and thicker. I called 999 and told them, then one of the builders who was also outside said he couldn’t get to the flats above.
“We ran in and shouted for people to get out. We helped a man and woman out and got them into the street.”
It took firefighters around 45 minutes to put out the fire, and two engines remained at the scene to damp down and clear the smoke using ventilation fans.
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While all this was going on, the pair of visitors who had fled the flat were stranded outside so Cathy and Mark took them into their office, found them warm clothes and made them a welcome cup of tea.
A West Yorkshire Fire Service spokeswoman yesterday said an ambulance was called for one person reported to have suffered smoke inhalation.
She said a Fire Investigation Officer had visited the scene and was looking into the cause.
Network Rail was informed about the fire as a precaution due to the proximity to the train station, she added.
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