TWO men who risked their lives to save their elderly neighbour from a burning building were told she could have died without their help.
Grandmother Marion Greig was alone in the home she shares with her husband, Norman, in Ashfield Court, Dunbar, when a fire caused by candles in the living room trapped her upstairs.
Neighbours rushed into action when they saw Mrs Greig screaming for help from her bedroom window as flames and acrid smoke engulfed the ground floor just after 8.30pm on Sunday.
Andrea Smith, 56, whose home looks on to Mrs Greig’s back garden, said: “My son, Barrie, rushed downstairs, shouting that Marion’s house was on fire. We ran into the garden and saw her at the window, screaming that she was trapped and begging us to call the fire brigade.”
Andrea called the emergency services but, afraid they might not arrive in time, her electrician husband George, 56, ran round and kicked part of Mrs Greig’s front door in. But the fire and smoke made entry – and escape – impossible.
By this point Mrs Greig’s right-side neighbour, Norman Cockburn, 63, had also sprung into action.
Mr Cockburn, who works as a painter and decorator, said: “George shouted to get my ladders, and we ran round the back and put them up to the bedroom window.”
Mrs Smith said by that point it looked as though the ground-floor windows could explode.
“I was terrified, but George was so calm and got Marion out safely. The fire brigade arrived a few minutes later and said if they hadn’t gotten her when they did, she’d probably be dead. But George just keeps saying he didn’t do anything anyone else wouldn’t have done.”
Mr Cockburn was equally modest about his own contribution. He said: “It’s human nature to help people when they need it, that’s all.”
Mrs Greig did not require hospital treatment.