‘One of those things - just feel lucky I was there to help’ - a man has spoken humbly about how he helped rescue two children from a burning home in Little Stoke having spotted the fire from his car.
Mark Taylor, aged 42, saw the heavy black smoke coming from the semi-detached property in Bush Avenue as he was driving home from nearby shops last night (April 10), and immediately jumped into action.
He called to a young mother in an upstairs window who dropped a baby into his arms, before catching a young boy from the woman with another man who joined to help. The pair then helped break the fall for the woman.
Just minutes later, Avon Fire and Rescue arrived and around 30 firefighters got to work on the severe fire, as the family along with neighbours were urshered to the safety of the other side of the road while windows blew out due to the heat of the blaze.
This morning, the father of the children posted on Facebook to thank Mr Taylor, who he said had ‘saved my kids’ lives’. He added ‘I just want you to know I’m forever grateful - thank you so much’.
Speaking to BristolWorld, Mr Taylor, who lives close to the property in Smithcourt Drive, described how he was on the way back from buying tea and biscuits from the shop when he spotted the fire at around 8.30pm.
He said: “I was on the way back from the shop in the car and I saw black smoke pouring out from a property, I thought at first it was a bonfire but as I got closer to the house I saw all the ground floor lit up from the downstairs.
“I jumped out the car and saw the neighbour alerting people. Next thing I know the occupier of the house has poked her head out of the box bedroom window upstairs, she was understandably very distressed.
“The fire was raging and I didn’t think anyone else could help in time so I stood below and she dropped the baby into my arms. Then there was an older boy, she dropped him down holding his ankles and I caught him with another chap who came to help.
“We then helped the woman down while there was glass around on the floor. It was quite a drop and I was just happy they were all out and down safely. As I then went to alert neighbours, glass blew out of the side of the house and everyone was moved to the opposite side of the road.”
Mr Taylor, whose wife Emma and son Billy joined the crowd of 20 people outside the fire, added: “It was just one of those things - just feel lucky I was there to help as I could, think anyone would do the same.”
This morning, pictures of the house showed the roof to the property severely damaged, the interior blackened and windows boarded up.
Firefighters from Patchway, Avonmouth, Southmead, Temple, Kingswood and Yate attended the blaze. The teams used six jets along with an extension ladder to put out the fire. They returned just after midnight to ensure the fire was out.
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.
A spokesperson said: “On arrival, crews found the house well alight.
“10 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus for safety used three 45mm jets and three high pressure hose reels alongside a triple extension ladder, thermal imaging cameras, turntable ladder, gas monitors and small tools to extinguish the blaze.
“Three residents have been checked by ambulance colleagues at the scene.”
Following the fire, today, people living in and around Bradley Stoke have been showing their support by offering items for the family. A fundraiser on Go Fund Me has also been started - the link is here.