Fire rescue OAP fights for life

The bungalow in Hawksley Close, Armthorpe, to which the fire service were called.
The bungalow in Hawksley Close, Armthorpe, to which the fire service were called.
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Firefighters smash into house as woman, 75, stops breathing

Doctors are fighting to save a Doncaster pensioner after she was brought back from the brink of death by firefighters.

Hazel Bannister is said to have stopped breathing when she was rescued from her smoke-filled bungalow in Armthorpe.

The fire crew who had smashed their way through the locked front door found the 75-year-old lying in the kitchen with no signs of life.

But after carrying her to the front lawn of the Sanctuary Housing Association property they gave Mrs Bannister cardiac resuscitation and oxygen until she revived and could be taken to hospital.

Mrs Bannister, who lives alone, has been detained in Doncaster Royal Infirmary’s intensive care unit where she was on a ventilator and being kept under sedation yesterday.

A spokesman described her condition as “critical”.

Neighbour Margaret Smith said last night: “I rang today and the hospital said they were hoping to bring her round. It’s just a matter of waiting to see what happens.

“We all hope she’s going to be alright. I still can’t believe what has happened, I only saw her at teatime the day before and she was fine.”

Other residents of the Hawksley Close cul-de-sac were woken in the early hours by the sound of banging and realised firefighters were smashing their way through the front door of Mrs Bannister’s bungalow.

“There was such a commotion and then a big belch of black smoke came out when they opened the door,” said Mrs Smith.

Another neighbour, Margaret Davies, said: “I saw them working on her outside and I thought, ‘I hope to God she’s alive’.

“She was outside on the ground for ages and all I could hear were the firemen shouting, ‘Come on, Hazel, wake up’. Then she must have come round.

“I understand her fire alarm went off and that was how they knew there was a fire.”

Sanctuary Housing Association staff were yesterday assessing the damage, which was mainly confined to the lounge.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said they believed Mrs Bannister had been asleep on the sofa when the fire started, probably due to smoking materials.

Investigators believe she may have woken up and made it to the kitchen to get some water to fight the fire before she was overcome by the smoke and collapsed.

Mrs Bannister, a retired OAP warden, has lived in her property for 14 years, neighbours said.