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Hero OAP saves woman, 84, and puts fire out in sheltered block in Bow

PUBLISHED: 11:20 11 February 2014

A pensioner has been hailed a hero in London’s East End after rescuing an 84-yerar-old woman and putting out a blaze single-handedly in a sheltered block for the elderly.

The woman was overcome by smoke when the fire started in the kitchen of her ground-floor flat at Caxton Grove in Bow on Saturday afternoon.

But Carmel Vella, who also lives in the three-storey block, didn’t think twice and grabbed a fire-extinguisher.

He braved the smoke to lead his neighbour out safely, then put out the flames himself before emergency fire crews arrived.

Carmel was reluctant to talk about his heroic act.

But his son George told the East Londson Advertiser: “My father on hearing the alarm went to investigate. He saw the fire and ran to his flat to get a 26-year-old fire-extinguisher and promptly put the blaze out.

“Had it not been for my father’s actions, it could have been much worse.”

Ambulance paramedics treated the woman at the scene for the effects of breathing smoke.

But she was well enough not to need hospital—thanks to Carmel’s quick-thinking.

Carmel’s son, a former journalist, added: “Fire broke at this building for vulnerable people. I believe there are 85 self-contained flats in the sheltered block and this takes a high-priority like a school or any other building for vulnerable people.”

Three emergency crews arrived minutes later from Bethnal Green and Poplar fire stations—only to find Mr Vella had put the blaze out himself.

A senior fire officer said later: “He did well. The woman was assisted out of the building before we arrived.”

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen when the woman fell asleep and left a chip pan on the cooker.


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