Grateful residents today praised a hero passer-by who alerted a whole Sheffield street as a blaze ripped through a house.
Dominic Drake was driving to his mother’s house on Gleadless Valley when he saw a smoke billowing out of a roof on Leighton Road around 9.10am yesterday.
Quick-thinking Dominic left his car in the middle of the road and jumped out to bang on people’s doors.
Within a matter of minutes, the road was engulfed in smoke and residents fled their homes – as fire crews arrived and battled to prevent the flames spreading to other homes.
Dominic, aged 38, of Newstead Avenue, Birley, said: “I was just passing. Sometimes I don’t even go down that road.
“I saw a little bit of smoke at first and I thought it looked unusual because it was near the chimney and not coming out of the middle.
“It dawned on me something was horribly wrong and I jumped out of my car and started banging really hard on all the doors telling people to get out of their houses quick.
“The fire started off small then in about 10 minutes loads of smoke billowed out.
“I’m just glad people are all right. I’m glad I stopped I’d hope people would do the same for me – I don’t see myself a hero really.”
Fire chiefs said the blaze had been going for some time before neighbours were alerted.
Four crews from Central, Parkway and Birley battled the fire and prevented it from spreading.
Neighbours, some still in their dressing gowns, watched as the drama unfolded.
Tammy Mason, who lives next door to the house where the fire broke out, thanked Dominic for his swift action.
She said: “It’s a good job he drove past when he did.
“I was up doing some washing when I heard loads of banging and I thought ‘Who is that?’.
“I was panicking thinking somebody was trying to get into my house but then I saw Dominic and he told me what was going off and told me to get out.
“I stepped out and all you could see was smoke, I couldn’t see the duel carriageway at the end of the road it was thick with smoke.
“I’d call him a hero because if it wasn’t for him, it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Mum Shelley Vaughan’s daughters, aged 16 and 14, and three friends were in the house where the fire broke out.
The 38-year-old said: “I set off at 8.50am to go to work and by 9.25am my daughter rang me saying the house is on fire.
“I was panicking and jumped straight in a taxi from work. I got there and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was awful.
“My teenage daughters weren’t sure where it was coming from at the time and the neighbours didn’t know either.
“My girls and three friends got out okay but a guy had been banging on the door to get them out.
“He saw it from the road and called it in. I’m so thankful that he did – they could’ve been seriously hurt.
“The back of my roof has completely gone through and collapsed – it’s terrible.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue group manager Trevor Barnard said: “When we arrived we realised the fire had been ongoing for some time unknown to us.
“Thankfully we have no casualties to report and neighbours were checked over by paramedics.
“Crews secured the property and isolated the fire from spreading.”
A crime scene investigation team attended the scene as the cause of the fire was investigated.