Thursday update: Neighbours rescued two men from a burning home in Crabtree, Paston, Peterborough using their own step ladders - minutes before the building was engulfed by flameson Saturday (29 September).
Luckily for the two occupants who were asleep, a trio of next door neighbours heard the home’s fire alarm sounding and rushed over to see what was happening.
Karl Setchfield (22), his step-father Marcus Carter (44) and Mr Setchfield’s girlfriend Naomi Stewart (16) spotted that there were two people trapped on the first floor of the house.
Mr Setchfield said: “The three of us were sitting down and having lunch when we heard next door’s fire alarm.
“We went outside but initially couldn’t see any sign of a blaze and then the fire alarm started making a different noise.
“Marcus knocked on the front door but there was no answer so I went round the back.
“I could see smoke pushing against the back window and flames were starting to engulf the curtains.
“I rushed inside my house and got two ladders.
“When I got back to the front, one of the men was hanging from the window and dropped to the ground.
“The second man was still standing at the window. We moved the ladder so it was against the window and shouted at him to come down.
“He started climbing down but he was a bit hesitant so Marcus went up the ladder, grabbed hold of him and hauled him down.”
Mr Setchfield also checked inside the burning building to make sure that no-one else was trapped.
He added: “When I stepped through the front door the heat was immense and the walls were glowing orange. I was worried that the house would collapse so I didn’t hang around.
“Later one of the upstairs windows smashed because of the heat. The fire crews got there quickly but we had to act.”
The trio had called for the fire service to attend before grabbing the step ladders to help their neighbours and crews arrived within minutes to bring the blaze under control.
Firefighters told Mr Setchfield that the two men were lucky and if they had been in the house for another two minutes they would have died.
Mr Setchfield said: “We didn’t have time to think, we just acted and luckily the two of them got out unscathed.
“They were very thankful when they got down, I think they had been asleep at the time and were quite shaken.
“It’s a good job they had a working alarm because I was told by firefighters that two minutes later they would have died.”
A fire investigation has not yet found the cause of the blaze, however Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said they believe it was accidental.
A spokesman said: “We advise people not to put themselves in danger by trying to rescue other people.
“Although it’s admirable, people can sometimes make the situation more difficult for firefighters by putting themselves at risk.”