Neighbours save sleeping 89-year-old from house fire moments before it went up in flames

An 89-year-old man was pulled out of his burning house after neighbours living across the road spotted his curtains were on fire.

David Chandler had fallen asleep on Saturday night when a fire, thought to have been caused by an electric heater, spread through his downstairs bedroom.

While Mr Chandler slept, his neighbours noticed flames around his curtains and they rushed over to his house on West Street in Trallwn, Pontypridd.

They woke him up and dragged him out just in time as one of the windows blew out and the flames took hold.

The house was left badly damaged and Mr Chandler and his family say they've realised just how lucky he was to escape with his life.

Credit: Mike Powell

Eve Williams, Mr Chandler's granddaughter, said: "The people opposite managed to get in and save him, luckily, because it could have ended so differently.

"The house is a complete write-off. We couldn't salvage anything."

Mr Chandler's family says the downstairs was gutted by the fire and that there is substantial smoke damage upstairs.

The flames burned through the ceilings and floorboards rendering the home uninhabitable for now.

Mr Chandler, who turns 90 this year, is a well-known character in the area.

Miss Williams said he was "shell-shocked" after visiting his house on Sunday to see it was totally destroyed.

"It hit him today and the realisation that his house was destroyed," she said.

"He found a bottle of wine that had been untouched so he came away with that."

Family say the only other thing he was able to retrieve from the rubble was his wife’s ashes.

Credit: Mike Powell

The local community were quick to rally around Mr Chandler and after gathering outside his home to make sure he was OK.

People have also been donating to a fundraising page to help replace his belongings, raising more than £3,400 so far.

Miss Williams said: "He has absolutely nothing left, other than the clothes he was wearing at the time.

"Grampsy is still such a happy person despite having lost everything, we’d love nothing more than to help him rebuild his life- his sense of ‘normality’ during this pandemic has now been sadly ruined."

The family have been overwhelmed by the response and say it has restored their faith in humanity.

Credit: Mike Powell

Fire crews spent around four hours trying to put the fire out and the smoke billowing out of the windows brought many in the community onto the street to watch.

Councillor Mike Powell thanked everyone for their help on Saturday night, saying it was an event that "could have impacted our community deeper than it has", adding: "A house can be repaired."

Family member Nia Williams said: "It's just heart breaking. But it's been amazing to see how people can be so kind and caring and it's been wonderful to see how in times of crisis and times of need, they've come together.

"Thankfully he had insurance but the magnitude of it and the fact that everything he's got has been lost has been a real shock."