Express & Star

Sedgley house fire: Heroes braved flames and smoke to try and save victim

A brave passer-by has described how he and other young men tried to rescue a woman who was killed in a house fire in the Black Country.

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Fire damage at the house in Sedgley where Conna Hincks, pictured, tried to rescue a woman who was killed

The 43-year-old woman, named locally as Michelle, was killed when a fire tore through the house in Beacon Lane, Sedgley, on Saturday afternoon.

A man and a girl who were also inside managed to escape, but not before the 16-year-old girl suffered serious burns.

Several young men ran over with ladders and tried to rescue the woman in the few minutes before the fire service arrived but were unable to help her as smoke poured out of the windows.

Conna Hincks, aged 21 and from Coseley, told the Express & Star how he climbed up one of the ladders to try to get Michelle out.

"I walked around the corner and saw loads of smoke," he said.

Fire investigators at the house on Sunday
The aftermath of the fire in Beacon Lane, Sedgley

"It filled the whole estate. Then I saw a girl lying on the grass and she was covered in burns.

"Then there was loads of fire coming from the house.

"Two teenage lads came running up the street with ladders and put them up against the house.

Watch: Firefighter says severity of blaze was 10 out of 10

"A girl was inside on the window ledge, there was no movement.

"No one else was going up the ladders, so I went up and tried to pull her out. I don’t know how to describe it but there was no movement from her side.

"Then lots of smoke went in my face, I turned my head away and kept pulling and trying to lift her out but there was nothing more I can do."

Conna, 21, rushed to help after seeing smoke covering the nearby estate

West Midlands Fire Service said the first crew arrived in three minutes and 38 seconds. The fire was soon under control and firefighters brought Michelle out of the building but she could not be saved.

"The fire engines arrived around two to three minutes after I went up the ladders," Conna explained.

"After I got down I thought about going back up but the firefighters took control.

"I wouldn’t say I’m burnt but it did singe my eyebrows and eyelashes.

"There were around 30 or 40 people watching outside.

"The fire department did a really good job and had it under control within minutes."

A fire dog was used as part of the investigation

Two air ambulances were sent and the man and girl were both taken to hospital by paramedics. The girl was taken to the burns unit at Queen Eliabeth Hospital and remained in a serious condition on Sunday. The man was taken to Russells Hall and has since been discharged.

Meanwhile neighbours and friends have rallied to support the family by raising money and gathering clothes after the house was gutted by the blaze.

More than £6,000 has been raised on a GoFundMe page.

Michelle Allen, who set up the fundraiser, set: "The response has been overwhelming and the family are so grateful.

"Any spare money you have will help go towards funeral costs and essentials to help the family back on there feet."

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