“I thought I was going to die”

The scene of a fire on Manor Road, Dinnington
The scene of a fire on Manor Road, Dinnington
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A woman dramatically rescued from her blazing home by firefighters after a suspected arson attack has revealed she thought she was going to die.

Trapped Clare Martin, aged 35, was fighting for breath and on the verge of collapse when fire crews smashed her bedroom window and carried her down a ladder to safety.

She said today: “I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to die and I felt really scared. I was panicking and shouting ‘help, get me out’.”

Speaking from her hospital bed, Clare, of Manor Road, Dinnington, thanked firefighters who rescued her and said: “I’m amazed that I lived and I’d just like to thank them for saving my life.

“The firefighters, police and staff at Rotherham Hospital, I want to thank them all.

“Without them I wouldn’t be here now.”

The mum-of-three, who lived at the property alone, said she had gone to bed early on the night of the blaze because she was tired but was woken at around 5am by smoke and noise.

“When I woke up there was smoke everywhere and I heard a crackling sound. My bedroom door was open and I could see flames so I couldn’t get out that way.

“My bedroom window was jammed but luckily I had my mobile next to my bed.”

Clare dialled 999 was given life-saving advice by a telephone operator while crews raced to the scene.

Police arrived first and used a fire extinguisher from their vehicle to break into the property.

“I went to my window and I could see my next door neighbours,” said Clare.

“I couldn’t breathe. They were telling me they would get me out of there.

“When the firemen arrived they had to smash the window. They pulled me through the window and carried me down a ladder.

“Then they put me in an ambulance and gave me oxygen.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Ade Robinson said Clare was minutes from death.

She was taken to Rotherham Hospital where she was put on a ventilator for 24 hours to help her breathe.

She had inhaled toxic smoke from the fire.

Clare said: “I didn’t have a lot of things as I only moved into that house a month ago, but it’s gutted.

“I’ve got nowhere to go.

“I’m still in shock and I can’t believe I survived.”

Fire crews were called to the scene at 4.45pm on November 1.

■Liam Fretwell, 23, of North Anston, and Carly Waddington, 19, of Rotherham have been arrested in connection with the fire.

They have both appeared in Rotherham Magistrates’ Court charged with arson with intent to endanger life and producing cannabis.