The Day I Ran Into A Burning Building And Saved Two Girls!

House fire and firemen
House fire and firemen

A Fire Can Happen So Quickly!

It was a normal Sunday, and I was just doing my usual Sunday stuff, cleaning and cooking. At about 1.30 in the afternoon I had just started ironing. I was facing sideways onto the kitchen window. I live two floors up, so If I look out the window I can see the grass, alleyway and allotments.

Suddenly, drifting up past my window I saw what I believed was the steam from the central heating coming up from the flat below.

I turned back and carried on ironing. Suddenly, out the corner of my eye I saw black smoke. I leaned over the sink to take a look and saw that it was billowing out the kitchen window down below me.

I turned off the iron and ran to the door. Rushing down the hallway stairs, I jumped outside and ran to the left, pushed open the main door to the flats, and banged hard on their front door, where the fire was by this time, billowing black smoke and flames out of the window.

'IS THERE ANYBODY IN THERE?' I shouted. Looking through the letter box I suddenly saw two girls, about 12 years old, at the end of the hallway. They looked terrified! The Smoke and flames was coming out of the kitchen doorway to their right, and my left.

I yelled 'GO OUT THE BACK DOOR, I WILL CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE HURRY'

But they didn't move. They were scared to death. So, I tried the front door, luckily it opened. So I rushed in, grabbed the girls by their shirts and dragged them back through the doorway!

Phew! That was close!

Maybe I should have taken them out the back door, but by this time there was only smoke coming from the kitchen as the flames had gone back into the kitchen and was heading for the main windows.

chip pan fire
chip pan fire

The Calm After The Fire.

I got the two girls outside the front of the flats, and sat them down.

'Are you okay? I kept asking. But they were too shaken up to do anything apart from nod their heads.

I didn't have a phone at the time and started banging on people's doors.

'Fire I need to phone the fire brigade, quick'! I yelled.

Luckily one of the neighbors was in and quickly phoned them. By the time I got back outside one of the girls mother's had appeared from a friends house. One of the girls was Spanish and the mother couldn't really speak English, but she knew two words.

'Thank you, oh thank you'.

By this time we had calmed down a bit, and I asked the girls 'What where you doing that would cause it to start burning?'

One of them replied 'We had put some chips on to cook, but we had gone in the bedroom to watch TV and had totally forgot that we had started cooking'. She said.

She was still shaking, so I thought it wasn't a good idea to start talking about fire safety!

The Spanish girl, Maria, who lived in the house was taken into the Spanish mothers friends house and then the fire brigade arrived. Jane, the other girl went with them.

By this time I had calmed down and watched as the fire department pulled up. Chaos reigned as the fire guys got out the hoses, made everybody stand back and started to put out the fire.

After answering a few questions I went back indoors to let them get on with it.

fireman using a fire hose to put out house fire
fireman using a fire hose to put out house fire

A Huge Spanish Group Hug!

As I was on my own in my house I grabbed a drink and carried on ironing! The fire, even though it was below me, was one door up so it never affected my part of the building.

In fact after the event I was told that most of it was smoke damage, and the actual flames were situated on and around the chip pan. The reason why the flames were coming out of the kitchen door was because they had a window open, so the air was being pushed out into the doorway.

Funnily enough everything seemed to calm down after that, and nobody mentioned it again!

I never got a thanks from Jane's parents, and the Spanish family moved back to Spain a few weeks later.

But I do speak to the English girl most days. She has said thank you many times since then, and we are really good friends now. In fact I was chatting to her today.

Many years later, I was walking from my house towards the town when, looking up, I saw all the Spanish family coming towards me!

They were visiting friends in England and had come round to show them the old house.

They saw me, and the next second I was grabbed and enveloped in one huge group hug, with Spanish voices saying in broken English, 'Thank you for my daughter' Then it was a garble of Spanish again, but I did recognize a few more words, one of them was 'Hero'.

I smiled, shook all their hands and we parted, me with lots of pats on the back, and them with great big smiles on their faces.

After we said goodbye I felt as if I was walking on air.

I had saved their daughter, Wow! It was only then it hit me. I had changed their lives.

saving girls from house fire and thanked by family
saving girls from house fire and thanked by family

Kids and Fire Safety.

  • Never leave your children in the house alone even if they are young teens.
  • If you do have to leave them on their own, tell them never ever to cook anything until you come home, just leave lots of snacks for them to munch on.
  • Always, and I mean always, install smoke alarms. One is not good enough. At least two in the house is a must.
  • Teach them fire drills. Let them know exactly what to do, where to go and how to get help. As young as you possibly can is the way to go.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher for the house, but only use it on small fires, never put yourself at risk.
  • And last but not least, make sure there is always a neighbor who can keep an eye one them, even if they don't go round to check give them a telephone number so they can phone the children and the children can phone them.

never leave children in a house on their own in case of fire
never leave children in a house on their own in case of fire

Fire Advice.

Thinking back it was a weird and very surreal situation. We never do what we think we will do in these situations. Its obvious you are going to see if anybody is in the house. You will also yell and scream and knock on the door to see if anybody is in there.

But just remember, when you are yelling at them, always yell the word FIRE so they are aware that there is danger. They may not know and run towards the door to see who's there. And that can be fatal.

Last but not least don't do anything stupid like running into a real inferno fire. In my case it was big, but centered in the kitchen, which was pretty lucky.

If the flames had been billowing out the kitchen door I would have run round the back and grabbed them, luckily there was only smoke at the time and there was enough room so that they could reach the door.

And one last thing. Never ever block the main doorways. No bikes, pushchairs or trolleys. You have to keep a clear head and a clear pathway.

© 2014 Nell Rose

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Comments 73 comments

Lady Lorelei profile image

Lady Lorelei 2 years ago from Canada

Excellent advice for parents and thank goodness that you were there to help out when you were needed.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks Lady Lorelei, yes it was a bit scary at the time, but luckily no one was hurt, thanks for reading, nell


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

You are a hero Nell! I would have been terrified and can only hope I would have done the same. Fire is a really scary thing and so unpredictable. Glad it all was to the good and you were not hurt either. Sure those girls will always remember you!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Jackie, not sure about hero, maybe silly? lol! no honestly if it had been a huge fire I am not sure what I would have done, maybe gone round the back and yelled and broke a window, who knows? thanks as always, nell


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Great story Nell and some good advice on fire safty. Funny how the flight or fight action can take over in a dangerous situation. Thank's for sharing your story..


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Well-told story, Nell, and excellent advice. Voted you up!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well bravo my friend! How very heroic and brave of you, and how lucky those two girls were, and are. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story with us.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 2 years ago from Australia

Good job, Nell! Those girls were very lucky.

Glad you had the good sense to turn off your iron before you went to help. :)


Donald Ogba profile image

Donald Ogba 2 years ago from Los Angeles

Nice one!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

You have said it all here such a great part of you to have shared here.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

I'm not surprised Nell, you've always been a hero to us ;) That was a seriously brave thing to do though. You didn't hesitate to save those girls.

Your advice about fire safety is spot on. My husband, and father before him, were volunteer firemen, (now my grandson), so I have heard many times the things you've said here.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting, pinned and shared.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

You are definitely a hero, Nell, because you didn't hesitate to save the girls. They are very lucky you were nearby and saw the smoke because many people who die in fires do so due to smoke inhalation, which can quickly render a person unable to escape.

One of my granddaughters became a volunteer firefighter in her small town and is now planning to complete an EMT course as well.

It is not only children who might start cooking something and forget it's on the stove. Everyone should be warned not to walk out of the kitchen when there's a cook pot on a burner. Also, it should become second nature to turn off a burner before answering a ringing phone. (I learned that one the hard way back in my twenties. The aftermath required repainting the kitchen!)

Voted Up+++ and shared

Jaye


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Mel, thank goodness you were there to get the girls out before the fire got out of hand! That was a very brave move. I'm sure the girls will never forget the day you saved their lives.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Great reminders on fire safety. You are such a hero.!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Nell, you most certainly saved not only the day but those girls' lives. Awesome job!


sheilamyers 2 years ago

You're so brave to run in and pull those girls out of the house. I can only hope I'd do it if faced with the same situation. You're advice and tips on fire safety and the rules for kids when they're alone are great.


Availiasvision profile image

Availiasvision 2 years ago from California

What a wonderful story with a happy ending. I'm glad that your living space above didn't catch fire.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Congrats, Nell, on keeping your wits about you when others wouldn't have! I did wonder, though, how you could calmly go back to your ironing if the fire was below your flat. Thanks for clearing that up. Also thanks for the great tips, most of which are just common sense, but common sense has a way of evaporating in a crisis.

Upped and shared! ;D


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

My goodness, Nell -- what a day that was. How brave of you to just rush into action and do what had to be done. You sure deserved that group hug!

Voted Up and H+


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 2 years ago from Southwest England

Thank goodness you were there, and acted quickly before the situation got any worse. Great advice on fire safety here - a must read for all parents.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

What an experience! You are so courageous to have gone into a burning apartment. Most people would be afraid to do that. I can only shudder to imagine what might have happened if you had not been home at the time.

Enjoyed reading this and voted up and awesome!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Congratulations Nell..you are a real hero. Those families will be eternally grateful to you I am sure. Thank you for sharng this hub and the important message on fire safety. Voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Your hub contains some great advice and a fascinating story, Nell! Your action during the fire was brave and very admirable. It's wonderful that you made a difference to several people's lives.


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 2 years ago from Spain

I can´t believe that Jane´s parents never even came to say thank you. I would have thought that was the very least they could have done. Your action saved these two girls, Nell and you should be proud of what you did. Well done you.


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

Thank goodness you were there and kept a cool head.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks everyone, I will be back on here tomorrow, I have been away for a couple of days, so thanks so much, nell


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Wonderful job done by you by saving the girls. And by this hub you conveyed a very important message on safety of children.

Voted up and shared on HP!


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Yes Nell, you are hailed a Super Hero. Your bravery, alertness and quick thinking allowed for the girls to live as desired today! You shall always be such a hero to them. Voted up!


oldiesmusic profile image

oldiesmusic 2 years ago from United States

It was like a scene from an action-disaster movie.. anyway.. the girls will forever thank you that you saved their lives. At least through that harrowing experience you are able to impart fire prevention and safety tips and messages especially for the children at home. Voted up, awesome and beautiful!


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

So heroic and amazing! Voting up~


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thank you all so much. Yes it was a bit hairy at the time! lol! Phew! but to be fair I didn't really get near the actual fire in the kitchen, just yanked the girls by the scruff of the neck and threw them out the door, there was a lull in the flames, just smoke so I ran up the hallway and grabbed them, you don't think at the time, just do it, just glad I spotted it in the first place, thanks nell


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Wow, Nell, you are a fearless hero! Yes, you never know what you can do until faced with the decision. Your tips on leaving kids at home alone is valuable, especially to warn them not to cook until a grown up is home. You have my admiration, as always!


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Nell - You amaze me, as I never knew you rescued anybody from a fire. It sounds unreal, but you must have wanted to really save them and forget about yourself and your safety. You can tell this story forever and have a great feeling about your bravery and those poor frightened girls. You are a heroine on this site. Sharing, Blessings, Audrey


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks teaches, just came back on today, long story, thanks so much for reading, it sounds scarier than it was, but by yelling I think I got the message across to the girls, so they didn't run to the door, I think that's the most important thing, to tell the people inside that there is a fire, because they may not realise, thanks again, nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi brake, thanks so much, I didn't really want to write about it because it sounded like boasting! lol! but my friend said, and I quote her words exactly 'You silly cow, why not write about it you did it for goodness sake!' LOL! that told me! thanks so much for reading, nell


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

What an excellent message and how brave you were!

You never know when something like this can happen and it seems everyone thinks it'll never happen to them - but it does!

No, you're not boasting - the story serves as a good lesson for everyone and it's necessary to make it real, first hand and with plenty of impact. You've done just that and it's good that you got that group hug.

The list at the end sums it all up so well.

Ann


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Hero you are, Nell. Those girls and their parents are more grateful than they can ever say, I'm sure. You can never feel useless or purposeless after this. God bless you!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

What you've learned because of the experience means you can offer some good practical advice for every day heroes who do not expect to find themselves in a situation where they need to help others in danger. That said, BRAVO to you for your attention, quick thinking, and actions that saved the girls, and from the sounds of things, perhaps the lives of other people, too!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thank you annart, MsDora and RTalloni, sometimes things happen so quickly, and to be honest if it had been a huge fire goodness knows what I would have done, probably gone screaming and banging on doors, but sometimes we do things and think on the job so to speak, luckily this looked worse than it was, I think. This was about 20 years ago but I still remember it really well, luckily it was put out quickly. the strange thing is how I reacted afterwards! instead of staying outside to see how or what was going on, I went back indoors and let others take over, why? I have no idea! shock? maybe, or just that I did what I had to do and didn't want to make a fuss, who knows what goes through our minds, we do strange things sometimes! lol! thanks so much, nell


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Congratulations Nell for saving the two girls and for it only being a small fire. Next time, open two doors to allow air flow so that flames do no flow out the door you enter.

Kevin


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Thanks Kevin, the building is a funny shape, when I opened the front door the kitchen was to the left, and the back door is through two rooms, so it wasn't easy to reach, luckily it worked out well, thanks so much for reading, nell


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee

Nell, you are one amazing human being! It is godsend the smoke alerted a courageous woman like you, and I am so happy neither the girls or you were harmed!

Great tips on fire safety and I am definitely voting up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi beth, thanks so much, it was a long time ago now, but I do wonder what would have happened if that darn fire had spread some more, I wouldn't be living where I am now, the block would have gone up, it was lucky!


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

Nell Rose.

WOW! I am so happy you and the girls are fine after that scare. I lost my oldest sister to a fire accident and that one word scares the you know what out of me.

Blessings to you for being there for them---you are their "Earth Angel."

Have a great weekend,

Bobbi Purvis


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Bobbi, I am so sorry about your sister, that must have been the most horrifying thing to happen, yes a fire is one of the most unpredictable things that can happen, who knows when its going to slow down, or just flare out of control in that kitchen, luckily it wasn't so bad, thanks so much for reading, nell


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 24 months ago from Taos, NM

You are a hero Nell in more ways than one! What an inspirational story. I agree, sometimes we just react in a crisis and don't even let fear enter the situation til its all over. What a heartwarming story and I am glad you saved two families that day. Bravo!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 24 months ago from San Diego California

Seems amazing that you can stand there ironing so calmly as all hell is breaking loose just one story beneath you. In this age of apathy and chronic narcissism, your heroic deeds deserve to be heralded here by all hubbers. You are a hero with ice water running in your veins. Great job!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England Author

Thanks so much suzette, sorry I missed your comments, what with all the technical problems on here today, great to see you!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England Author

Hi Mel, thanks so much, it was a long time ago now, just one of those things, I am glad it wasn't a huge fire, not sure what I would have done! lol!


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 24 months ago from Somewhere in the West

Hello Nell what you've done was very courageous and brave to run into a house on fire and save two girls. It is so nice they can return to say thank you, simple thank you goes a very long way. I am petrified of fires i saw a good bit when i was small and i use to be afraid to go and watch fires.

Have a wonderful day


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England Author

Hi Jo, thanks so much, yes it was a bit scary but not too bad, hope your feeling better now?


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 24 months ago from Somewhere in the West

Hey Good day Nell

Yes I am still have a little of the symptoms though it lasted about 15 days UGH!, i tested on Monday 29th and the Dengue came back negative. Thanks so much for inquiring, how was your trip? you can email me :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England Author

Hi Jo, that's great to know, I will send you that email, seeya soon.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 24 months ago from southern USA

Wow, Nell, thank you for sharing your experiences and I am so glad you saved lives! That is so awesome. Fire is so frightening and we never know what we are capable of until an emergency situation arises. I was surprised one time when our neighbors, a few houses up, had a fire and all the people were out of the home, thankfully, but we could see their dog in the window staring out. My dad (who was not healthy at the time with breathing and other ailments), did not hesitate to run into that smoke-filled home to get that dog out safely. I think he suffered a bit of smoke inhalation, but was fine. We were all so happy all were safe.

Up ++++ tweeting and pinning


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England Author

Hi Faith, Wow, your dad was a real hero! bless him! yes fire is so dangerous and can take hold so quickly its scary stuff! thanks so much for reading, nell


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 24 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Very wise advice. You were are ARE a hero for that act of caring. I worked at an apartment complex a few years ago when I first came to Oklahoma. There was a young lady that was deaf that put some oil on for cooking, then went to the store, which was within walking distance. There was a fire, which caused smoke damage. Her mother evidently didn't teach her about the hazards of cooking and leaving the home. She was lucky.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 24 months ago from England Author

Hi Deb, thanks for reading, phew, she was lucky! amazing how a slip of the mind can cause terrible damage, glad everyone was okay, nell


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 23 months ago

You are truly a hero! It takes courage to do what you did. You acted as you should have, doing all the right things. You saved the lives of two young girls. Had you not been divinely placed and acted as the Spirit of the Lord requires (out of love and concern for another) the outcome may have been very different. Thankfully to God it was a happy ending for everyone :)

God bless you.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 23 months ago from England Author

Hi mothers, thanks so much, it was on the spur of the moment, we don't think just act I believe, but yes it was lucky I was there, others would have done the same, but thank you so much!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Oh, Nell, you absolutely did change lives when you rescued those two girls. You are an angel! You also used wisdom during this experience. And I'm so glad to know that the spanish family eventually gave you thanks along with a big group hug. Wow - you truly are a hero.

Love,

Audrey


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 22 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Good solid advice from your true story, and then you just went back to your ironing? Wow! No thanks from the other girl's family?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England Author

HI, thanks Audrey, lol! not sure about the hero, it wasn't too bad a fire, but could have been, but thank you, its funny what we do and how we do it, maybe if it was a bigger fire I would just have yelled at the top of my voice!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England Author

Hi Perspy, lol! back to the ironing board! not sure what else to do to be honest! haha! thanks for reading, nell


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 22 months ago from California

Your safety tips are very good. Kitchen fires can happen to anyone. My brother who was 17 and I forgot we were cooking bacon. It started a fire. My brother grabbed the skillet moved it to the sink where it caught the curtains ablaze. Knowing the right thing to do is vital as you have pointed out. Nice work.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England Author

Hi tireless, thanks so much, yes just one wrong action can cause so much more damage, and is very dangerous too, thanks for reading, nell


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 22 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Personal fire experience: I had peeled and cut potatoes for french fries and they were cooking on the electric stove element when I noticed the oil was boiling over. Realizing a fire would ensue I took hold of the pan despite the oil now bubbling onto the pan's handle and removed it to a safe area.

While the boiling oil was starting to burn my hand, I saw the pan I had peeled the potato peelings in and put my burning hand into that pan with its water and peelings.

I ended up with no burn blisters, and no fire. God be praised.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England Author

Hi Perspycacious, phew! great thinking on your part! and that just proves as long as you don't panic you will be fine, thank goodness! thanks for sharing your story, nell


mary615 profile image

mary615 22 months ago from Florida

I would hope I'd be as brave as you were if I were faced with a similar experience! And you just went ahead and finished your ironing??

Great story with a great ending.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England Author

Hi mary, lol! yep carried on ironing! I have no idea why! I think it was because after the event I didn't want to look like I was being some sort of hero, so I let them get on with it! thanks as always, nell


savvydating profile image

savvydating 22 months ago

Wow! You actually saved two lives. That's awesome. I wonder how many people would be too afraid of fire to do anything? At any rate, you were there to save the day. Yay! Also, the rest of your article contained great advice for parents who have tweens, especially! I'm glad you got to see the Spanish family again. I really enjoyed that part of the story. :) Voting awesome.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 22 months ago from England Author

Hi savvy, thanks so much for reading, yeah it was a bit hairy, so to speak! lol! but to be honest I didn't think to start with it was as bad as it was, I just saw smoke and ran! didn't see flames at that time, only afterwards did I see the damage!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great advice Nell. I always remember stop, drop and roll, from my childhood days, whenever there's a fire. We've learned an important life lesson here. Voted up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 18 months ago from England Author

Thanks so much Kristen, that's a great lesson to learn!

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