Heroes rescued pals from Knutton house fire: Ian Darlington and Tony Eagles rushed to aid of teenagers
TWO heroic passers-by have received bravery awards after saving two teenagers from a house fire.
Ian Darlington and Tony Eagles risked their own safety to help the teenagers escape the blaze at a property in Knutton.
They were presented with certificates of commendation from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service at Newcastle fire station yesterday.
The drama unfolded when a fire broke out while Becky Ikins and an 18-year-old male friend were asleep at her Church Lane home on the morning of May 20.
Her grandparents, Joan and George Ikins, who lived next door, were alerted to the blaze and tried to rouse Becky.
Mr Eagles, who had been visiting a friend in nearby Camillus Road, heard the smoke alarm going off and saw smoke coming from the house.
As he got closer Mr Eagles saw Mrs Ikins – who is his wife's aunt – shouting outside.
He then saw Mr Ikins, who has since died go inside to find his granddaughter.
Mr Eagles, aged 71, of Moran Road, Knutton, said: "By the time I got across the road George had gone inside. Joan was shouting Becky but getting no response.
"I went in and fetched George out. While I was on the phone to the fire brigade he went back in, so I got him out again. It was really smoky.
"I went back in and kept shouting and eventually Becky came down the stairs."
Meanwhile, road marking worker Ian Darlington spotted the commotion as he drove to work.
After learning there were two people inside the house, the 31-year-old grabbed a hammer, jumped onto a van parked on the driveway and climbed onto the porch roof so he could smash a bedroom window.
He said: "I could see fingers at the window, but I couldn't see a face, it was so smoky.
"I smashed the window and the lad climbed out. He hadn't been able to find his way out.
"It happened that quick I didn't have time to think about it. I just had to get him out."
Everyone made it out of the house safely and firefighters from Newcastle extinguished the blaze. It had started when a chip pan was left on overnight.
Both heroes were presented with their commendations by Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford.
He said: "We wouldn't advocate people going into a burning building, but faced with this situation their actions were extremely courageous and undoubtedly saved lives."
Mr Darlington, of Mow Cop, was stunned by his award. He said: "I wasn't expecting to get a commendation. It was quite a reception and I was a bit overawed by it."
After receiving his commendation Mr Eagles, who is a Newcastle borough councillor, said: "I didn't do anything anyone else wouldn't have done. It's very nice, but I wasn't expecting it."
Mr Eagles's wife Ethel was there to see him pick up his award. The 72-year-old said: "When I first heard what he did it frightened me. I'm very proud of him."