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.

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.

Latest News Stories

52 minutes ago
The England girls line up at the Street Child World Cup

Nine girls who played for England at the Street Child World Cup in Brazil – a team partly organised by Islington Council – are set to spend tonight sleeping rough for charity

16:02
Cllr James Murray:

A new responsible estate agent run to give people on low incomes a helping hand has been announced by the town hall.

14:38
Tony Juniper talks at Zen launch event

A green initiative set to pioneer eco-friendly business in heavily polluted Tech City has been launched by the three councils which take in the thriving area.

13:34
Police cordoned off the scene

A man has dropped dead in a Hornsey Rise park.

Most read news

The gaming industry’s answer to the Oscars has dished out its annual awards.

Potential female candidates are already being prepared for the upcoming diocese vacancies in Southwell, Nottingham, Gloucester and Oxford.

Watch the moment the Shadow Chancellor got interrupted by a daring arachnid.

The prime minister insists the demand certainly doesn’t help make a case to keep Britain in the EU.

Digital Edition

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