Great-gran helps carry OAP from burning house

Neighbours Mary Pringle, left, and Seonaid McAlpine rescued Agnes Hunter. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Neighbours Mary Pringle, left, and Seonaid McAlpine rescued Agnes Hunter. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A HEROIC great-gran rushed to a fellow pensioner’s rescue after her home went up in flames.

Mary Pringle was gardening when she heard cries for help before spotting smoke billowing from her housebound neighbour’s kitchen window.

The 83-year-old ran to the front of the house – in ­Dalrymple Crescent, Musselburgh – and banged on the door while desperately trying to persuade terrified occupant Agnes Hunter, 84, to open up.

With the help of fellow neighbour Seonaid McAlpine, 43, Mrs Pringle then carried her neighbour to safety.

The fire victim and her daughter today hailed the quick-thinking heroes after the drama yesterday morning.

Mrs Pringle told how she had been hoping to enjoy a “quiet week” while her dementia-suffering husband Ian was away on a respite trip but instead became a life-saver.

She said: “I was out cutting my hedge when I thought I could smell smoke – I looked up and saw it coming out of the back door.

“I then heard a little voice screaming ‘fire, fire’ and took to my heels and ran round the front. I hammered on the door and shouted for her to come out, but she was clinging on to the rail near the radiator.

“I thought I would have to break the door down.”

Mrs Hunter finally opened the door and was carried free from the house seconds before fire crews arrived just after 11.30am yesterday. But she refused to leave the scene completely and watched as her house was gutted by the blaze, which was sparked by a cooker.

She is now recovering with her daughter, Anna Scott, 56, a few streets away, and said: “It was horrible, it was just so quick. I’m very good with the cooker, but it’s the last time I’ll ever use it.”

Mrs Scott was alerted to the fire after Mrs Pringle’s son, Alan, knocked on her door, and today thanked the heroic neighbours for rushing to the rescue and saving her mum’s life.

She said: “Mum had burnt boiled eggs before, so I didn’t think it would be too serious – but when I got there I saw it was. It’s pretty bad and has affected most of the house.

“Mary and Seonaid are very good neighbours – if it was not for them, mum might not still be here.”

Mrs McAlpine said it was lucky she was out in the garden with her mother, Christina Campbell, 64, and her seven-year-old son, Robert, when the incident happened.

She said: “It all happened so quickly and I did not really know what to do. Agnes has always been housebound since I came – she was very lucky.

“She was not for moving, but I got her underneath her arms so I could get her out.”