Search

Woman speaks of dramatic Regent’s Canal boat blaze rescue

12:40 22 May 2013

Tracey Corkish with the crutch that helped save a man

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.

Support your community by viewing your local businesses

Please wait

You will be able to read the article in 5 seconds

Thank you for supporting your local community

You may now read the article

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 News Stories

57 minutes ago
The winners of the Mayor of Islington's Civic Awards 2014 with then Mayor Cllr Barry Edwards

The bravest, most caring and downright tenacious residents will be recognised at the Mayor of Islington’s Civic Award 2015.

Baker Paul O'Brien. Paul is one of the main people behind the re-opening of cally market on Saturdays after it has been closed for a year (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

A market will be reincarnated as a breeding ground for new local businesses according to stallholders, residents and councillors set to reopen it tomorrow.

London Ambulance Service Joint Response Unit tweeted this photograph of the aftermath of the crash

There are serious traffic delays in Islington today after a pedestrian was knocked down on Popham Road.

The accident took place at this junction between Popham Road and New North Road [Photograph from Google StreetView]

A man has been arrested after his van hit a pedestrian in Islington in the early hours of today, leaving her in a critical condition.

Most read news

Twitter sat back and watched as the world went bargain-hunting crazy on Black Friday.

There was definitely something buzzing at JCB when he delivered his immigration speech.

What would you do in order to get a discounted TV?

The judge was having none of it and labelled the driver’s version of events as ‘ludicrous’.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition