HERO Ryan Collard risked his life to save a family from their blazing home.
The 17-year-old was walking home with a pal when he noticed the Lightfoot family’s house engulfed in flames.
As they got closer, Ryan, of Hetton, noticed a man was trying to kick down the door of the Houghton property.
Without thinking, the teenager, who was on his way back from the gym, threw his bags down and rushed to help the other man.
After getting into the house, Ryan ran to the first floor, where he came across Enid Lightfoot, 69.
As the flames quickly spread to the roof of the house and the smoke continued to pour inside, Ryan struggled to see as he helped Enid out of her Kingsway home.
The Durham Sixth Form College student said: “I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the fire. I honestly didn’t know if it was real.
“As we got closer I realised it was real and saw how serious it was. It looked like the whole side of the house was on fire.
“We shouted to see if anyone was in there. I got to the first floor and a woman came out of one of the rooms so I helped her downstairs and out of the house.
“There was a lot of smoke in there and I could hardly breathe. The smoke was in my eyes and nose and throat. I didn’t realise how bad it actually was.”
Ryan, a former Houghton Kepier School pupil who wants to be a teacher or a police officer, managed to get himself and Enid outside and to safety.
Her children, Margaret Kenny, 50, and Ross Lightfoot, 33, managed to get out themselves.
As reported in the Echo this week, the youngster left as the ambulance and police arrived, meaning the family were unable to thank him in person.
Enid’s other daughter Anna Little, 27, said: “We want to thank them both so much for coming to help. It was very brave and we’re grateful.”
Ryan, of Hollowdene, said: “It was a reaction. I didn’t think twice about it because it seemed the right thing to do.
“I don’t think of myself as brave or a hero. I just did what I thought a lot of people would do.”
Ryan’s mum Lesley, 44, added: “We’re extremely proud of Ryan especially when you think of what could have happened to him. He risked his own life.”
Police are still looking for the group of youngsters believed to be responsible for starting the fire at 4.30pm on Sunday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 03456 043 043 ex 69191.
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