A 63-YEAR-OLD who was making vital personal protective equipment (PPE) with his 3D printers thought he was going to need the help of an action film superstar as a fire ripped through his conservatory.

Allan Bannister and his wife, Rita, who live on Old Road, in Horton Bank Top, awoke to a fright in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday morning.

Their conservatory was filled with thick smoke after Mr Bannister's two Anycubic Kossel Linear Plus 3D printers had set alight.

He said: "It was so scary, I was expecting Bruce Willis to come help me out.

"It was my wife that was alerted at first - she had a tickle at the back of her throat and thought there's something not quite right.

"She went downstairs and she could hear the smoke alarm, which was out in the conservatory."

That was an extra alarm that the couple had installed and once Mrs Bannister opened another door, their smoke detector in the front room went off too.

Mr Bannister said: "At that point, I'm awake, with my dressing gown on with a Superman logo on the back which cheered everyone up - the firefighters and hospital staff.

"The smell was horrendous. I kept the door closed into the conservatory.

"I've had so much safety training that if we opened the door, I knew the fire would be fed with oxygen."

But it continued to rage and Mr Bannister had to intervene.

He opened the door from the house to the conservatory and was hit with a blast of heat.

Mr Bannister said: "I immediately bent down because I couldn't see and then I saw an orange glow, so I knew it was the printer.

"There were no flames that I could see, but it could have been the smoke.

"Now I'd let the oxygen in the flames started.

"I threw water into the room, rightly or wrongly, and after about four or five times the glow went."

He then managed to open the outside door of the conservatory to ventilate the room.

Mr Bannister and his wife went outside to wait for the emergency services.

He said: "We watched the International Space Station, I think, then I went back in to check whether it had restarted and then waited for the pros."

Three West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) crews, from Odsal, Fairweather Green and Bradford fire stations, rushed to the scene at 2.45am.

The couple were taken to hospital by ambulance for check-ups after suffering smoke inhalation, according to a spokesperson for WYFRS.

Mr Bannister has a passion for 3D printing and touted the idea of manufacturing PPE at his home before many knew there would be a drastic need for it in the UK.

He had spotted they were doing it in Italy due to shortages there and decided to act when the crisis hit the UK.

The 63-year-old was using his printers to manufacture plastic grips and then attaching acetate to make visors.

He already made 400 and was in the process of printing more grips overnight when the fire happened.

Some items can require print cycles of 68 hours and the grips take an hour each, with Mr Bannister doing them in stacks of 10 (so 10 hours).

He says it is a common occurrence for people to leave their 3D printers on overnight.

The issue arose when the printers lost their "constant data stream" from the computer they were linked up to.

Mr Bannister explained that 3D printers are vastly different to their traditional counterparts - it's not just a case of plugging it in, hitting print and off you go.

It requires some basic knowledge of coding and each 3D printer can be modified - to make it faster, for example.

Mr Bannister has a theory as to why the printer set alight.

He said: "I have a rough idea through talking to people in the community on Facebook and other groups.

"It's running on a Windows 10 computer and it would appear that the computer did a security update overnight - normally I have that switched off.

"When it did the update, as soon as it rebooted, that constant data stream stopped.

"The printer then must have gone onto a heating cycle and it just kept heating and heating and heating."

Now, the couple have been left with extensive damage to their conservatory and no way of carrying on their valiant efforts for the time being.

The latter is Mr Bannister's main concern.

He said: "For me, that's the biggest let down.

"It is what it is - it's like this virus, it is what it is.

"I'll get it up and running again, but we'll just see when."

The 63-year-old is remaining in high spirits and admits it could have been a lot worse.

He said: "We can both still laugh because we're still here, but it could have been much worse.

"One printer, you wouldn't know what it was now.

"It was all on one table, so the fire started two-and-a-half feet up.

"The floor never got involved, it burned down into a really thick chipboard table."

The only regret he has is not having a fire extinguisher in the room, as is normal practice in Canada where he spent a number of years.

He said: "When the clocks go forward there in Spring, that is the time to change the batteries in all your alarms.

"We'd only just changed all the batteries.

"Little things like that, 20 years of that, so it saved us.

"The fire service actually gave us two more alarms, so next time we have a fire it will be a real party."