Brave 81-year-old helps rescue neighbour from Ravensthorpe blaze

SO BRAVE: Naminder Sian and Dennis White, who rescued an elderly woman from a flat at Kashmir Court. (d07031208)
SO BRAVE: Naminder Sian and Dennis White, who rescued an elderly woman from a flat at Kashmir Court. (d07031208)
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HEROIC action and quick thinking saved the life of an elderly woman in a smoke-filled flat drama.

A brave pair led the 84-year-old to safety after a fire broke out in the bedroom of her ground floor home in Ravensthorpe.

One of the rescuers – Dennis White – is also in his 80s. He said he and housing scheme manager Naminder Sian were only just in time.

“Two minutes more and it would have been too late,” he said. “She would have been dead.”

Mr White, 81, sprang into action as soon as he heard the fire alarm at the Kashmir Court complex in Church Street, where he has lived for 20 years.

Tracking down the source of the noise, he took a look inside Joan Marie Illingworth’s flat. “It was horrible. So much smoke and flames,” he said.

When he and Miss Sian – whose flat is next door – went inside they couldn’t see anything for smoke. “But then we heard someone moaning,” said Mr White.

Mrs Illingworth was on her bed pressing an alarm pendant. Mr White felt his way towards her and, between them, he and Miss Sian got her out.

“Without a doubt we saved her life,” he said.

Despite being terrified by the flames, Miss Sian pressed on but said Mr White was calm throughout.

He said: “After the first shock it didn’t bother me and I rushed straight in. All that mattered was getting Mrs Illingworth out.”

Residents of Kashmir Court have praised his bravery.

“But I’m not one for being the centre of attention,” he said. “It was a spur of the moment thing.”

Miss Sian has been praised by Sadeh Lok, the housing association which owns the complex where she has worked for some years.

Chief executive Paul Dolan said: “Naminder’s actions are typical of her commitment to the residents. We are so proud of both Naminder and Mr White. The pair did a terrific job.”

Mrs Illingworth and Mr White were taken to Dewsbury and District Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Mr White was discharged the same night, while Mrs Illingworth was kept in for observations. She has since returned to Ravensthorpe.

It is thought a lit cigarette set cardboard boxes alight.