Search

Woman speaks of dramatic Regent’s Canal boat blaze rescue

PUBLISHED: 12:40 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:43 22 May 2013

Tracey Corkish with the crutch that helped save a man's life Pic:  Dieter Perry

Tracey Corkish with the crutch that helped save a man's life Pic: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

A woman has spoken of how she and two men helped rescue a man from a burning canal boat.

Witnesses spoke of “pandemonium” as the man aboard the Regent’s Canal narrow boat screamed for help from passers-by as the cabin was engulfed by flames.

The rescuers pulled him out of the boat before putting him in the water and dragging him to safety.

He was taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel with severe burns to his hands after the blaze at about 5am on Monday.

About 50 residents were evacuated from a nearby block of flats because the emergency services feared gas aboard the boat might explode.

Rescuer Tracey Corkish, 41, of nearby City Garden Row, was passing by when she and her friend Terry saw the flames.

She said: “The guy inside was screaming. We went round the back and he couldn’t get out, so we smashed the window.

“His hands were both bright red. It looked like he was holding a tissue or something. We went in to grab him and that’s when I realised it was his skin.

“It just melted from his hands. He must have tried to put the fire out with his hands.”

Melting

The pair then pulled him out by his clothes and put him in the water.

A third man then ran from a nearby flat and the three rescuers used Tracey’s crutch to pull the man from the water to safety onto another boat.

Tracey added: “It was horrible. It just seemed to go on forever.”

Peter Flack, whose flat in Dame Street overlooked the fire, said: “There was a girl and a man. I don’t know where they came from, but they got him off. I think they saved his life.

“You could just hear the man shouting and screaming ‘get me off, get me out of here, quick, quick’. It was pandemonium really.”

He added: “The windows started cracking. You could smell the fibreglass melting and everything.”

Four fire crews from Clerkenwell, Islington, Shoreditch and Millwall were called at 5.32am and firefighters had the flames under control just over an hour later.

London Ambulance Service said two crews were sent and the man, in his 30s, was treated for burns to his hands before being taken to hospital.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

0 comments

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 18:09

A mystery spectator gifted £800 to a Newington Green marathon runner’s fundraising campaign after being inspired by her dash for the line, six minutes before the event’s cut-off.

Yesterday, 14:49

The town hall has started a £22million programme to deal with chronic damp problems in two of Islington’s biggest estates.

Yesterday, 11:03

A report published last year aimed to find a way to cure Islington of its chronic problems with damp and mould. Last night the council said the more radical recommendation were simply too expensive.

Yesterday, 07:53

Islington Council last night approved new policy to fight tax dodging contractors.

Thu, 12:45

Caroline Russell last night claimed she was the only realistic candidate to contest Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North seat in June’s general election.

Thu, 11:00

In a weekly feature, we profile a fascinating company doing business here in Islington. This week, we re-visit Hammerton Brewery, which is expanding by opening a new pub in Holloway Road.

Thu, 10:41

Archway dwellers could soon be taking a stroll through Junction Square, Archway Plaza – or possibly Squarey McSquareface.

Thu, 07:30

Islington Council “failed” a vulnerable teen who was stabbed to death in the supported housing he shared with his killer. That’s the belief of Lance Scott Walker’s heartbroken family, who saw his killer locked up this week.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now