A PENSIONER has been hailed a hero after braving a terrifying house fire to save a young boy and his mother.
Bill Bride fought through flames after a blaze ripped through a house in Wynn Avenue, Ruabon, shortly after 5am yesterday.
The alarm was raised after a 10-year-old girl who lives in the house banged on 66-year-old Mr Bride’s front door. Mr Bride ran over to the burning house to pull the seven-year-old boy and his mother from the inferno.
The two children were taken to hospital after the fire gutted the ground floor of the house.
A woman in her 30s was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.
Mr Bride’s wife Eileen, 62, called the emergency services.
Mrs Bride said: “We were woken up at about 5am by an alarm going off and banging on our front door from the little girl who lives over there.
“She was crying by the gate in her dressing gown. We looked over and could see why – the whole house had gone up.
“You could see the glow through the windows and smoke was everywhere. I called the emergency services while Bill followed her over.
“There was a big crash in the living room, which was fully alight. It was terrifying.
“Bill went round the back and the next thing I saw was him carrying the little boy under his arm and dragging the mum out. When the firemen got here they said if it hadn’t been for Bill, there would have been fatalities.
“We’ve lived here for 31 years and never experienced anything like it.”
Mr Bride said: “It was lucky the little girl had the thought to come and bang on our door. My first thought was to get over there and make sure no one was inside.
“As I approached, the curtains in the living room were in flames and the front window blew out, so I took a chance going round the back and thankfully the back door was open and the mum was standing there with the little boy, and the flames from the front were really getting up.
“I reached in, grabbed the lad and shouted at her to get out of there.
“I feel terrible for the kids to have experienced something like that, but at least they’re safe now.”
Another neighbour, Ennys Evison, 62, who lives adjacent to the property and also witnessed the blaze, said: “It was frightening. There was smoke everywhere and I saw the little girl come out of the house screaming, with all the glass cracking and breaking. It was horrible.
“You worry about it spreading but the most important thing is that everyone was out of there safely.
“My grandsons play with the two children and they’ve had a very lucky escape.
“Bill was brilliant in getting them out of there.”
A local woman in her 30s was arrested at the scene on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and was taken to a local police station.
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: “North Wales Fire and Rescue Service were quickly on the scene and were able to extinguish the fire before it spread although some neighbouring properties were evacuated.
“A 10-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy were helped from the premises by neighbours and taken to a local hospital for a precautionary check after slight smoke inhalation.”
Police Superintendent Sian Beck confirmed the fire was being treated as suspicious and that a joint investigation is under way with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
She said: “This could have been far more serious had it not been for the prompt actions of members of the public and the emergency services.
“This appears to be an isolated incident and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire.
“However I am appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time who saw any suspicious persons or activity, or indeed knows anything about this fire to contact police immediately.”
A North Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the blaze caused 100 per cent fire damage to the ground floor of the property, and there was 100 per cent smoke damage to the first floor.
Fire crews from Wrexham and Johnstown attended the scene.