BLAZE hero Ray Wallace has been honoured with a special award after dragging a neighbour from a burning house.
The Stagecoach bus driver was at his home in Quarry Road, Silksworth, following his grand-daughter Leila’s christening on Sunday, April 14, when his stepson, Andrew, spotted a fire across the road.
The pair rushed over and broke into the house before Ray dragged a stricken 31-year-old man from inside the semi-detached home.
Explaining his act of bravery, dad-of-two Ray, 52, said: “It’d been a long day with the christening, so we were just relaxing.
“I was just sitting at home watching TV when Andrew saw the fire.
“I could see someone in the house and when I reached it, I realised it was locked, so I started banging on the door to get the owner’s attention while my stepson phoned for the emergency services.
“The man inside went to make his away back upstairs so I just grabbed him and told him to get out of the house immediately.
“I considered going back in to check if there was anyone else, but in the meantime the fire brigade had arrived so I left the rest up to them. I didn’t think about the dangers when I entered the house – I just did it instinctively.”
Firefighters also rescued a woman from the upstairs of the property, who was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment.
Ray then thought an elderly next door neighbour – in his 80s – may not have been aware the fire was spreading to his house and told Andrew, 20, to check on him.
Ray, who is dad to Claire, 27, and Craig, 25, added: “I have to say thank you to Andrew, because if it wasn’t for him we could be talking about a different story altogether, of people dying.”
Stagecoach has now honoured Ray by giving him a Service To The Community Award, which recognises members of staff who go above and beyond the call of duty in their everyday lives.
Geoff Reed, who is operations manager at the firm, said: “We were overwhelmed to hear about Ray’s actions, putting other people’s safety before his own. The Service To The Community Award recognises the actions of our remarkable members of staff who have excelled and supported the community in which they serve, both in or outside of work.”
Proud Ray said: “Bus drivers don’t get always get a great press at times, but I’m really pleased to receive this award.”
l A woman, 54, of Quarry Road, has been charged with arson and is currently awaiting trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
l Comment – Page 24