A NEIGHBOUR risked his own safety to save a woman from her burning house in Penryn by pulling her from an upstairs window.
Rueben Jenkin came to the rescue of Susan Turner, 45, who was trapped by flames and smoke in the bedroom of her house at 99 The Terrace, Penryn, on Saturday.
The fire took hold at around 10pm when Mr Jenkin, of nearby Tonkins Ope, was alerted by Ms Turner’s cries for help.
Mr Jenkin, 27, said: “I had just put my little girl to bed and heard someone screaming, ‘help’, so I ran to the back window and heard ‘help, my house is on fire’. So I looked to the left and saw smoke, a lot of smoke.”
He told his partner Steph Johnson to call the emergency services and ran out of the house, jumping over two garden fences to reach the courtyard of the house, where he saw Ms Turner leaning out of a sash window.
He said: “She was leaning out. Smoke was billowing out, she was struggling to breathe and covered in smoke.
“I reassured her as much as I could and while I was doing that I was looking for some sort of way to get her out.”
Mr Jenkin said there were |no ladders or any other way to get |to the casualty, but by climbing a wall at the back of the courtyard and working his way along, he |was able to bring himself level |with the window, but felt it was too far to reach.
Ms Turner’s next-door neighbour, James Ryan, was also alerted to the fire by his daughter Gwen, who called the emergency services, and went into his back garden to find Mr Jenkin on the kitchen wall.
He said: “He was trying to calm her down and saying ‘we need to get you out of the house’.
“There was smoke and you could feel the heat, she was distressed.
“I don’t know how much smoke she had inhaled, but her hands were sooty and black.”
He fetched a stepladder, but it was too short to reach the window.
Mr Jenkin said: “The smoke was getting worse, it was coming out of the roof.”
He got back onto the wall, but his arms could barely reach the window, and talked her through his plan.
He said: “She said she couldn’t do it because she’s afraid of heights. I was reassuring her, and saying ‘you’ve got no choice, the smoke’s getting worse, the heat’s getting worse.’ I could feel it just from leaning across, it was like standing next to an unbearably hot bonfire.”
He talked her into holding onto an aerial which was attached to the wall, and getting part of her body out of the window while he grabbed her under the armpit, before swinging her to sit on the wall next to him. He then lowered her to safety on the flat roof of Mr |Ryan’s kitchen.
He added: “I just had tunnel vision, my focus was just to get her out of the house at any cost.
“She didn’t want me to get her out that way, she was scared, but the heat, smoke and flames were getting worse, and the flames were working towards the window.
Mr Jenkin says it all happened in around four minutes, and both he and Mr Ryan praised the emergency services for their quick response, saying that they arrived within ten minutes.
Two appliances from Falmouth, one from Truro and one from Helston attended, along with the control unit from St Just and the breathing apparatus main control unit from Falmouth, as well as police and paramedics.
Firefighters used two hose reels and four breathing apparatus to fight the fire, and no other people were believed to have been in the house, although James’ wife Deborah Ryan has said Ms Turner was concerned about her elderly cat, which has not been seen since the incident.
A 45-year-old woman has appeared before Truro Magistrates charged with arson.
Susan Christina Turner of The Terrace, Penryn, entered no plea when she appeared at Truro Magistrates’ Court on July 7.