UPDATE: Teen hero helps save Gants Hill flat fire woman

A 17-year-old boy has told how he broke the fall of a woman who jumped from a window to escape her burning flat.

Usman Sheikh, of Brantwood Gardens, Redbridge, said he ran to the aid of the victim when he saw the smoke, holding out a dust sheet with four other men for her to jump into.

He then kicked down the door of a neighbouring flat to check if there was anyone inside before fire crews arrived at the scene in Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill at 10.15pm yesterday.

He told the Recorder: “I ran over fast and saw two people climb on the ledge of the top floor and jump.

“Then a blonde girl came out and me and four guys held up a dustsheet and told her to jump on to it.”


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When she landed in the blanket her face was “covered in soot” and she is thought to have suffered a broken ankle and wrist.

Mr Sheikh then kicked down the front door of the flat next door, believing the occupants were still inside.

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Two of the people who had already jumped for their lives from the flat hit the pavement face first, says another witness.

It took a team of 30 firefighters more than two-and-a-half hours to get the fire under control.

Barrie Wright, of Whitehall Road, Woodford Green, said: “When we arrived the fire was raging out of one of the windows, and acrid smoke had filled the flat.

“The first two occupants just jumped from the window. I heard the crack as their face hit the pavement, they were seriously hurt.”

A spokeswoman from the London Ambulance Service said they were called to the scene just before 10.15pm.

She added: “We treated a woman with multiple injuries and a man who were both taken to the Royal London Hospital [Whitechapel] accompanied by a doctor from the air ambulance.

“A 52-year-old man with hand and back injuries was taken as a priority to Queen’s Hospital, Romford.”

It is also thought paramedics later treated a firefighter for dehydration.

The spokeswoman added: “We were called back at 12.50am and took a patient in his forties to King George Hospital.”

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