Fire latest - Banbury hero carried disabled woman to safety
A heroic neighbour has been thanked 'from the bottom of my heart' by a woman he saved from certain death.
"I will never be able to thank him. If he hadn't lifted me bodily and carried me to safety I would certainly have been dead," said Pat Newman.
Disabled Mrs Newman,78, was in the shower shortly after midnight on Saturday when her husband Stan, 81, realised a serious fire was ablaze in their Mascord Road, Banbury home.
He did his best to help his wife to her stair lift but was unable to carry her out of the house.
Mrs Newman's stair lift failed half way down the stairs when the electricity was cut off.
It was then neighbour Alex - a Polish resident - who had called the fire service, rushed in, grabbed a coat to cover Mrs Newman and lifted her over his shoulder to take her out of the burning house.
"He is the bravest, most wonderful man in the world. He carried me round the side of the house and up two steps at which point all the windows of the front of the house shattered outwards," said Mrs Newman. "I cannot thank him enough. All he said was that he did what he had to do."
Mr and Mrs Newman were given refuge in another neighbour's house when firemen came in with her Basset Hound, Tani who, in a state of panic, had refused to leave the property.
The couple was taken to the Horton General Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and later released. They spent the rest of that night with their grand daughter and are now living temporarily with their son, Terry and his wife, Karen, in Elton Road.
Mrs Newman said she was first alerted to a possible fire when she got into the shower and smelled burning plastic.
She told husband Stan who could also smell burning.
"He felt the wall, just above the conservatory, and shouted that we had to get out. Because I am disabled and my legs don't work properly, he had to haul me out of the shower and to the stair lift. Half an hour later and we wouldn't have lived," said Mrs Newman.
"Our house is utterly, completely and totally gutted. There are no windows or doors. Both conservatories front and back have been burned down."
Son Terry Newman said: "The first I heard was when I got a knock on the door at 3am because I live across town at Cherwell Heights. I saw them at the hospital. They got out with only the clothes they had on - they have absolutely nothing and we have had to buy them new clothes.
"The Polish neighbour, who we know only as Alex, was an absolute hero. We are convinced he saved Mum's life. The firemen have called to say they are putting him forward for a bravery award.
"The fire brigade is investigating the cause of the fire. They don't know what it was - nothing obvious."
Mr and Mrs Newman have been living in the house since it was built in 1963. Loss assessors are evaluating the damage.
Among the personal losses are Mrs Newman's two exquisite dolls' houses.
Living away from the property is a problem as it has been specially adapted for Mrs Newman's disabilities.
Neighbour Linda Wren started up an appeal for money to help the couple get back on their feet. The fund this afternoon (Monday) stands at £1,757.
Anyone wanting to donate can contribute at