Pensioner battles blaze and saves street from explosion

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A HERO pensioner battled 12 foot-high flames with a garden hose to stop an oil tank catching fire.

Richard Lewis, 78, tackled the flames after arsonists torched neighbour Thomas Tudor’s shed just before 11.20pm on Sunday night.

Residents on Tan yr Allt, Cefn y Bedd, have said they had a lucky escape after fears Mr Lewis’ oil tank could have exploded causing devastation on the street.

Mr Lewis said: “I was on top of the shed with the hose pipe. The heat was terrific. It was well alight. It melted the hairs on my chest. We were concerned about the oil.

“If that would have gone up it would have exploded and the whole row could have gone. There is a lot of oil in there for the central heating.”

Heat from the fire melted guttering, cracked windows and spread along a fence to the rear of the shed putting neighbouring properties at risk.

Mr Tudor, 77, who lives at the house with his sister Anna Hughes, said he feared the fire would also spread to his home.

He said: “The flames were reaching up about 12 feet and there was a lot of smoke.
You could really feel the heat when you stepped out of the house.

“It has been a lucky escape. My concern was the oil. If that would have caught fire the street could have gone up.

“I had tools and things in the shed, it is all gone.

“We have to thank Richard. I won’t forget what he has done.”

Mr Lewis, a former worker at the Vauxhall car plant in Ellesmere Port, battled the blaze for 20 minutes as the fire services rushed to the scene.

Two of Mr Tudor’s relatives and a neighbour poured water over the flames and the fire was partly under control when crews arrived.

Mr Lewis’ wife Glenys said: “It was frightening. If the oil would have gone up the house would have gone. We have had a lucky escape. We are lucky to be alive.

This is devastating.

“My husband is a hero.”

The shed was completely destroyed in the blaze with a loss of hundreds of pounds worth of property.

Mr Tudor said: “The fire would have spread. It is awful. I haven’t got over this. I am ever-thankful to Richard and everyone else who helped. It will be a big job to clean up the mess now.”

A spokeswoman for the fire service confirmed the fire had been started deliberately.

A spokesman for North Wales Police said they were investigating the cause of the fire.

See full story in the Leader

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