TWO quick-thinking workmen screeched their van to a halt and raced to the rescue as a fire gripped hold of a family home in the early hours of the morning.
Bus shelter cleaners Raymond Peacock and Paul Seggie banged on doors in Trinity Crescent in a frantic bid to wake sleeping occupants.
As shell-shocked residents fled, the raging flames broke a window and threatened to engulf neighbouring homes.
The heroic duo then sprinted back to their van and used its water jet to douse the inferno before the fire brigade arrived.
Mr Peacock and Mr Seggie have now been hailed as heroes who went beyond the call of duty to save lives and prevent a family home from being completely destroyed.
Modest Mr Peacock said the pair had just been in the “right place at the right time” when they came across the blaze.
The 41-year-old said: “I think anyone would do that, really. It was just a quick reaction. We both just got on with it until the fire brigade were there. It was just a case of banging on the doors and waking everybody up.”
He said it was pure chance that their van had recently been fitted with a new water system, and the tank was full at the time. “I’m just glad everybody is safe,” he added. “I’m happy that we could help.”
The occupants of the house where the fire started, who had been away for the night, said the actions of Mr Peacock and Mr Seggie had potentially saved their neighbours’ lives as the fire threatened to spread.
According to the owner, who asked not to be named, the blaze broke out when the rising sun reflected on a magnifying beauty mirror, sparking a fire on a sofa.
“If we had been in the house we would have had the shutters shut and it wouldn’t have happened,” said the mum-of-two.
“It’s only stuff, but it’s quite a lot to sort out. We’re just relieved everyone is okay. It was absolutely brilliant that [the cleaners] were there.
“They even tried to put it out with the hose that they were using. They knocked on all the doors.
“We want to pass on a massive thank you.”
Mr Peacock and Mr Seggie are employed under the council’s contract with JCDecaux to maintain the city’s new bus shelters.
Mark Cooper, the firms’ group operations director, said his staff had gone “above and beyond” after spotting the blaze at 7am on July 23.
He said: “I wish to personally thank Raymond and Paul for their quick thinking and role in assisting the community.”
A fire service spokeswoman said: “The blaze was a fierce one so every minute counted in terms of alerting the fire and rescue service. Fortunately no-one was injured as a result.
“Our advice to anyone who suspects there might be a fire is to stay well clear and call 999 immediately.”
Community safety leader Councillor Cammy Day said: “Raymond and Paul’s efforts to alert those living nearby to the fire demonstrate quick thinking and consideration for others, and the council would like to commend them.”