A POLICE officer who saved a man’s life after pulling him from a burning van has been praised.
The officer was patrolling South Shore when he spotted smoke pouring from a black and white Ford Transit van on Lytham Road.
When he opened the door of the van he saw a man asleep with a fire raging inside the vehicle.
Police said the man was homeless and had been given permission to sleep in the van overnight. He had lit some paper to keep himself warm.
Chief Insp Ian Mills, of Lancashire Police, said: “It was an outstanding piece of bravery shown by the officer in rescuing the man from the van.
“His actions go above and beyond what is expected of an officer and what he did has probably saved the man’s life.”
The 55-year-old man was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital to be checked over.
One crew from South Shore fire station was called to the scene just before 1am and put the fire out with a hose reel.
Watch manager Steve Roberts said: “He had lit a fire in the back of the van to keep warm. The police were passing and pulled him out of the van. It could have been a lot worse if they hadn’t seen the smoke, we could have been looking at a burnt out van and a fatality.”
The same firefighters had earlier been called to a house fire on Longridge Avenue, South Shore, where an 81-year-old woman had fled her home after her front door burst into flames.
Watch manager Roberts added: “Neighbours saw the front door on fire and called the fire brigade and rushed out to help the woman. They looked after her until an ambulance arrived.
“Her neighbours did a fantastic job spotting the situation so we could get to the scene quickly. It could have been a lot worse.”
The woman was taken to hospital but discharged yesterday.