Neighbour drags man from fireball after suspected arson attack

Ray Wallace, of Quarry Road, Silksworth, who alerted the emergency services to a fire in house oppostie
Ray Wallace, of Quarry Road, Silksworth, who alerted the emergency services to a fire in house oppostie
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A BRAVE neighbour dragged a man to safety as his home erupted in a ball of flames.

Raymond Wallace helped save the 31-year-old as the windows of the home blew out because of the intensity of the blaze.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were called to Quarry Road in Silksworth at 11.30pm on Sunday after the fire broke out in the upstairs bedroom of the semi-detached house.

A woman, named locally as Irene Bulmer, 54, lives in the property with her 31-year-old son.

The Echo understands that they have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Mr Wallace, 52, was woken by his stepson, Andrew, 20, who spotted smoke coming from the house.

He said: “We called the fire brigade then ran across the road.

“I could see a man standing behind the glass in the front door.

“He was braying on the door as the windows in the upstairs bedroom started to blow out.

“He eventually managed to open it and I got hold of him and physically had to bring him out and across the road to my front wall.

“His face was completely black from the smoke.

“We knew there was an elderly man in his 80s living next door so Andrew went to go and get him out.”

Terrified neighbours were evacuated from their homes as firefighters arrived.

Mr Wallace, who has lived in the street for five years, added: “We knew the man’s mother was still inside the house and we told the fire brigade.”

Crews fought through thick black smoke and eventually found the woman in the front upstairs bedroom.

She was pulled to safety as crews brought the flames under control.

Both Mrs Bulmer and her son were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital.

A spokesman for North Moor Fire station said: “The fire appears to have started in the bedroom above the living room.”

Neighbours living in the cul-de-sac told the Echo that this is not the first time there has been a fire at the house.

One woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “There was a similar incident about six weeks ago, although not as bad as this one.”

A police car was still outside the property yesterday as an assessment of the damage was carried out.