Neighbour rushes to help elderly wife and husband after hearing smoke alarm

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Judith Mulligan with her children, 18-month-old Frances and Henry, ten Judith Mulligan with her children, 18-month-old Frances and Henry, ten

An off-duty police officer rescued two elderly neighbours from a house fire yesterday.

Judith Mulligan, 42, said she was “just being a good neighbour” when she helped Jack and Lily Sharp out of their smoke-filled terraced property.

Frail Mr Sharp, 88, was having a bath at the time so Miss Mulligan helped dress him before getting him outside to his wife, a 91-year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer, whom she had led to safety moments earlier.

Miss Mulligan, who was supposed to be taking part in the Leeds Abbey Dash yesterday, said: “My friend said how do you feel to be a heroine but I’m not, I am just a good neighbour.

“I am just glad I was in and that I went round when I heard the smoke alarm. They would not have survived it if I had not gone round.”

The fire, in the basement of the house in School Street, Pudsey, started shortly after 7.30am when the electrics connected to the shower upstairs blew.

But, despite their home rapidly filling with smoke, the Sharps had no idea what was going on.

Fortunately, Miss Mulligan was up watching television with her 18-month-old daughter Frances and heard the smoke alarm.

Realising it was coming from the Sharps’ house, she rushed round.

“I rang the doorbell and was shouting through the letterbox,” she said. “But at that point I wasn’t aware what was happening.

“Then Lily answered the door and there was smoke everywhere. I went into the kitchen thinking they had burnt some toast, and there was thick, black smoke in there.

“You don’t think that it’s dangerous. It was awful, the smoke was so acrid.”

After getting Mrs Sharp outside, Miss Mulligan told her mum, Susan, to ring the fire brigade. She then started ringing neighbours for help.

Paul Guy, who lives at the other side of the Sharps’ home, came to assist and they rushed inside to find Jack drying himself off in the bathroom.

“He didn’t know what was going on,” said Miss Mulligan. “I put his wife’s jacket on him because I thought it was his and then pulled him some underpants on. Paul helped him down the stairs.”

Miss Mulligan, who was treated at hospital for smoke inhalation, said a burst water pipe in the basement probably prevented the fire from being any worse.

Fire crews from Stanningley and Mirfield stations attended the incident.

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