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Men who saved woman in Ravenscliffe fire to get bravery awards
9:00am Saturday 14th December 2013 in News
A heart attack survivor is one of two neighbours receiving a bravery award next week for saving a woman trapped in a burning house.
Despite being forced back by ferocious flames and choking smoke, Garry Hodgson, 47, refused to give up and with help from another neighbour, Bobby Conway, 43, managed to get the woman out to safety.
Mr Hodgson, Mr Conway and their families will be special guests at Idle Fire Station on Wednesday when they will be presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from District Commander Russ Hepton.
Idle station commander Chris Lawton said the awards recognised the bravery shown when the men used a ladder to rescue the woman through a bathroom window at the side of the house at 1am on Friday, October 11.
Mr Lawton said: “They were brave, they were courageous. They put their own safety in second place.
“It was a severe fire – the entire ground floor was in flames.
“Without their help, the woman would at best have sustained more serious injuries and at worst would have probably died. They went the extra mile to save a life.
“We would not advise anyone to try and do this kind of rescue but the actions these men took made a great difference.”
Mr Hodgson climbed a ladder to reach the woman through a tiny bathroom window, before throwing her over his shoulder and carrying her down to safety.
Moments after completing the rescue, he collapsed in the street, struggling to get his breath due to the frantic activity and smoke inhalation.
He had tried first to get in through bedroom windows at the front with his ladder, then the back door after the woman threw down the keys but the kitchen was like an inferno. The woman had then shouted she was in the bathroom so he moved his ladder round to the side of the house to get her.
The 6ft 4in father-of-eight, described by neighbours as a gentle giant, was the first neighbour on the scene, joined by Mr Conway, who tried to smash his way in through a lower window using a garden hoe after someone shouted to tell him the woman was in the front room.
He was pushed back, cutting his hand, as the window exploded and glass and flames blew out. He then helped Mr Hodgson drag the woman to the front gate. Both men needed hospital treatment.
Mr Hodgson, who has suffered a number of heart attacks, was already known as a community stalwart on Ravenscliffe estate, volunteering at the youth centre and helping keep the streets safe at night by going on patrol.
He said: “God knows how I got her out of that window. I just squeezed my head, shoulder and arm in and dragged her out. It all happened so fast.
“I don't think I'm a hero, I just did what I had to do and that was to get her out.”
* Charleen Hall, 26, who was rescued from the house, has pleaded guilty at Bradford Crown Court to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered. She will be sentenced on January 3 following the preparation of reports.
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