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Hero rescues children from burning house

PUBLISHED: 17:08 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 11 May 2010

Steve Slider next to the window from which he pulled the children to safety

Steve Slider next to the window from which he pulled the children to safety

A MODEST hero rescued three children from a burning building following an arson attack last week.

Steve Slider had to run perilously close to the inferno in the carport of a three storey house opposite his home in Rodney Road, Great Yarmouth.

A MODEST hero rescued three children from a burning building following an arson attack last week.

Steve Slider had to run perilously close to the inferno in the carport of a three storey house opposite his home in Rodney Road, Great Yarmouth.

The blaze destroyed a motorised disabled buggy parked under the car port.

But Mr Slider still managed to rescue his friend Giles Vanderwerf's three children Ophelie, 13, Eddy, 14 and Raphael, six through a ground floor bedroom window next to the carport, braving extreme heat from the flames shortly before midnight last Thursday .

Afterwards he said: “It was nothing really. I do not think I did anything special.”

The 39-year-old unemployed man was just getting up to switch off his television before going to bed when he peered through his lounge window and saw smoke billowing coming from Mr Vanderwerf's home opposite.

Within seconds he had run across the road to try and wake the sleeping family by banging on the downstairs bedroom window and then calling them on his mobile.

Fortunately, smoke alarms had already woken Australian Mr Vanderwerf, 59, and his French partner Francine Ejaz, 41, in their second floor bedroom.

Hurriedly they had woken Ophelie and Raphael in their first floor bedrooms before heading downstairs through thick black smoke to wake Eddyin his bedroom and flee the building into Mr Slider's welcoming arms.

Mr Vanderwerf called firefighters who evacuated a number of neighbouring properties after discovering a charred gas meter on the carport wall beside the front door.

The blaze destroyed the disabled buggy belonging to Jack Barnes who lives a number of doors away from Mr Vanderwerf but parks his buggy in the car port as there was no space to leave it at his home.

Mr Vanderwerf said: “It was very frightening to be caught up in the blaze. As soon as I had rung the fire brigade I knew we had to get out otherwise we could have been asphyxiated.”

No-one was injured during the fire, although the family were found temporary accommodation on Thursday while the damage to their home was assessed and since then they have been rehoused.

The carport appeared to have sustained the worst of the fire damage, while the rest of the property had suffered smoke damage.

Two 15-year-olds arrested in connection with the arson have been bailed pending the results of the investigation by police and fire officers. They are due to appear at Yarmouth police station on November 29.

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