Elderly woman saved from Trowbridge house fire by heroic neighbour

A woman in her 90s has been rescued from a house fire in Trowbridge by her next door neighbour.

The elderly woman, understood to be Cynthia Shanks and described as deaf, was asleep in her upstairs bedroom when the mid-terrace house caught fire.

Luckily for her, quick-thinking neighbour Bardha Kola and her husband, Lec, returned home to see the smoke rising from the roof in Newtown and acted on impulse.

He rang the fire service while Bardha grabbed the spare key and rushed inside to wake the woman up.

She managed to get her down the stairlift and outside to safety as fire tore through the roof of the home.

When we saw the smoke my wife ran into the house and managed to wake the lady up and get her outside to safety. Thankfully she's ok which is a massive relief for all of us.

Lec Kola
crews from Trowbridge, Warminster, Frome and Corsham were called to a terraced house in Newtown at 7.37pm Credit: Devon & Somerset Fire & rescue Service

Crews from Trowbridge, Warminster, Frome and Corsham rushed to the scene just after 19:30 and it took some 25 firefighters to tackle the fire, which was well alight by the time they arrived.

Although the roof was destroyed they did manage to contain the blaze and stopped it from spreading to the rest of the house and neighbouring properties.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but it is not being treated as suspicious.

I am in no doubt that the actions of the neighbour saved the occupier's life, and I was able to thank her in person on the night.

Richard Humphrey, Station Manager

The fire service praised the bravery of the rescue before reflecting on the woman's lucky escape.

Station Manager Richard Humphrey said: "We were told that the occupier wouldn’t have heard a smoke alarm as she is deaf."

He added "We do want to remind people that specialist alarms are available for anyone hard of hearing, which use strobe lights and vibrating pads to alert the person to a fire.”

Firefighters will now revisit the area to give fire safety advice to neighbours and to carry out Safe & Well checks.