Brave chef ran into burning Gorleston house in his underpants

PUBLISHED: 12:16 03 February 2012 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 February 2012

House fire at 99 Church Road, Gorleston  Picture: James Bass

House fire at 99 Church Road, Gorleston Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

WHEN a chef awoke to find his neighbour’s house on fire he ran into the burning building - dressed in just his underpants - fearing people could be trapped.

Flames took hold of the family home in Church Road, Gorleston - where a mother and her three teenage sons were believed to live - at around 2.30am on Sunday.

A passing taxi driver spotted the blaze and started to bang on people’s doors to get them out, and when neighbour James Allright saw the extent of the fire he ran out of his house in just his underpants.

A passer-by kicked in the door of the burning building, and he and chef Mr Allright raced around the rooms as windows started to pop under the intense heat.

They had not heard a response when they had banged on the door and yelled “fire” and feared the family were sleeping inside.

Nobody was in the building and the family had a lucky escape, but their home has been completely destroyed and fire investigators have not ruled out whether the incident was an arson attack.

Mr Allright, 36, said: “A taxi driver came to our door - we hadn’t ordered a taxi 
so didn’t come downstairs until she started shouting ‘fire!’

“I was in my underpants and a bloke kicked down the door. We went to check round all the rooms - the fire was quite intense.

“The windows were popping as I was running through and flames were flying through the house.

“I just went for it - you’ve got to make sure everyone’s safe.”

He said the blaze melted his guttering and cracked some of his windows - and a three-metre wide alleyway separates his house from his neighbour’s.

“I could feel the heat when we were running around,” added Mr Allright. “It went very quickly.”

Nursery nurse Cathy Norton, who lives in the terraced house adjoining the property where the fire happened, made the initial call to the fire brigade.

The 26-year-old mother of two said: “I had been up all night as my son hadn’t been very well, then all of a sudden there were flashes of light in my bedroom.

“All of the back of the garden was lighting up.”

She said she was impressed by how quickly fire engines arrived to get the blaze under control and stopped it from spreading to neighbouring properties.

Two fire engines from Great Yarmouth and one from Gorleston attended at 2.33am.

Crews used main and hose reel jets, as well as a hydrant, to get the fire under control.

The Red Cross vehicle from Sprowston was also requested - this vehicle offers support to families who have lost most of their possessions in a fire.

An investigation into how the fire started is ongoing.

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