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Retired army medic rescues neighbour from burning bungalow

John Pigott rescued his neighbour from her burning home. Credit: BPM Media

A former army medic has revealed how he dragged his neighbour from her burning home on New Year's Eve - seconds before it was engulfed by flames.

John Pigott rescued the woman from her bungalow in Burslem, Staffordshire. She remains in a critical condition in hospital after suffering serious burns

The 67-year-old, who served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, was alerted a dog barking.

I thought someone's dog was upset because of the New Year fireworks and it got louder and louder.

I went outside to the dog and there was a man on the road who shouted to me a house was on fire.

I went over and looked in the window and could see the flames. When I got to the front door it was warm.

– John Pigott
Investigators believe the fire was smoking-related. Credit: BPM Media

The former combat medical technician said the house was full of dense smoke.

I managed to pick up the dog and get him outside. There was another dog and I couldn’t get hold of it. I then saw two feet in the living room. The smoke was so dense and I just grabbed her and pulled her outside where I put her in the recovery position.

I was taught by people in the army to go and do a job and that’s what I did.

– John Pigott

Fire fighters and paramedics attended. Mr Piggott and the woman, who is in her 60s, were given oxygen at scene. She was then taken to a specialist unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, after suffering smoke inhalation and burns to her legs.

Investigators believe cause of the fire was smoking- related.

Tim Hollingworth, a station manager Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

This was a very serious incident involving an established fire in the living room which has left a woman seriously injured.

A joint investigation with colleagues from Staffordshire Police leads us to believe that the fire started accidentally and we believe it was smoking related.

Smoking is a common contributory factor in fatal house fires, and is one of four factors that increase the chances of you dying in a house fire.

– Tim Hollingworth, station manager, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service