Hero describes how he burst into burning home to try and rescue four-year-old girl

A hero has described how he burst into a burning home to rescue a four-year-old girl trapped in her bedroom as fire ripped through the house.

Rhys Manderson was driving on north Hull when he saw a woman running out of a house filled with black smoke and then tripping over.

The 28-year-old slammed on his brakes, rang 999 and then heard the woman scream that her little girl was trapped in the burning property, reports Hull Live.

Mr Manderson ran inside to try and save the child.

"I covered my mouth with my coat and tried to run up the stairs to rescue the four-year-old girl that I was told was trapped in her bedroom," he said.

"As soon as I hit the top of the stairs the intensity and heat and pressure struck me - I didn't realise how bad it would be and I breathed in a lot of the smoke up there.

"I broke the windows but couldn't see the girl and ran out again as I think the mum had given me the wrong room in all the panic, as when I came back out she said her daughter was actually in the back bedroom.

"I had about two or three goes at saving her and screaming for her and was panicking myself by then and ran around the back and smashed the window with a shovel.

"I was hanging off the ledge at one point trying to get her out and thought to myself 'this is really bad and I'm not sure we're going to get to her'.

"Then the firefighters arrived and barged the door down and saved her and were in and out by the time I dropped back to the ground."

Smoke was constantly billowing from the house and the outside was completely black with soot as horrified neighbours looked on, with Mr Manderson unable to get to the girl because the smoke was too thick.

The experience was a "scary" one for him, but his only concern at the time was for the little girl.

"It was real scary at the time. At first I thought I was invincible and that I would be fine by covering my mouth with a coat.

"I also used to be a swimmer so thought I could hold my breath for at least two and a half minutes, but the pressure of the smoke and heat forced me to breathe.

"My leg hair was singed with the heat and I was in there for three or four minutes and the fire was just getting worse - all I could hope was that the girl would be okay.

"In my head, I was sure anyone would try and rescue someone in that situation, or at least attempt to do it, but there were lots of people just stood about watching, perhaps in shock.

"I was so relieved when she was saved and I'm so happy she got out and that the family are now recovering and rebuilding their lives."

It was little Bella Walker who attends McMillan Nursery School that Mr Manderson tried to save.

Bella's mum Samantha Walker said she was "so grateful to him" for trying to help the family and was so relieved that her child pulled through after treatment in hospital.

"I can't thank the man who stopped and helped me enough, everything could have been so different. I would also like to thank the emergency services and the doctors at the hospital on ward 13 who were so good. Everyone has been so brilliant.

"I'm still trying to come to terms with it, but it will come one day. The nightmares are starting now.

"At first when I was asleep all I could see was the black smoke and that felt safer than being awake. I'm so grateful it's not far worse.

"When Bella got to hospital she was on 11 breaths a minutes and that soon went to 24. We had three children's hospitals on standby but she recovered and she's such a strong girl.

"They tried to send me for my treatment at Castle Hill but I wanted to be with her.

"When I was going up to see her I was waiting for the lifts and they were taking too long so a lot of the time I was walking up the stairs with my drip.

"It took me longer to recover because I kept running into the smoke to get up the stairs. She had managed to protect herself in her room with her duvet.

“Bella has made such a speedy recovery but she still gets upset when she talks about home. It will take time to sink in and she has suffered a very traumatic experience."

The family are currently staying at Mr Walker's parents house in Hessle, although have been in touch with emergency housing as they are now classed as homeless.

Mrs Walker said their home in north Hull is now classed as uninhabitable and will be for a year.

Peter Crutchley and his crew members put on their breathing gear and the training and adrenalin kicked in when they were deployed to the fire.

Peter ran upstairs and head a murmuring in a back bedroom and there he found little Bella barely conscious under the bed.

“I couldn’t tell what everyone else was doing but I was focused on going in the house,” he said. “I ran upstairs and heard a faint murmur and I found Bella under the bed. I picked her up and dashed downstairs

“I put her down outside and she was very limp and unresponsive. I left her in the care of the paramedics.

“She had been in a heavily smoke-logged for several minutes and was not in the best state,” he said.

“I would be surprised if she had lasted much longer in those conditions. It could have been a very different outcome as it is the smoke that kills.

“There was zero visibility and it was pitch black inside.

“I went into autopilot. After rescuing Bella, I went back in to tackle the fire in the living room and we had it under control in about 20-25 minutes.

“All the training I had just kicked in. I was both excited by the job but also quite nervous.”

stella Posted on September 30, 2019 12:08

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