A brave passerby has relived the moment he tried to rescue a man from a burning house and confessed: “I’m so sorry I couldn’t save him.”
Steve Lane kicked in two doors in a frantic attempt to reach the 46-year-old man inside the detached house in Warbreck Hill Road, Blackpool.
But he was driven back by fierce heat and choking smoke.
The occupant, named locally as Martin Foulds, was later brought out by firefighters who were wearing breathing apparatus.
Despite desperate attempts by paramedics at the roadside to revive him, he was pronounced dead after being rushed to the town’s Victoria Hospital.
“It was terrible,” said Steve, 27, who was driving past the house on his way to the gym when he spotted smoke billowing out of a rear window.
It hit me as soon as I kicked in the second door. You could feel how intense it was halfway down the garden path.Steve Lane
“It has really upset me that I couldn’t get to him. But the heat was overwhelming.
“It hit me as soon as I kicked in the second door. You could feel how intense it was halfway down the garden path.
“There was just no way I could get in there and I feel awful about that. I just couldn’t get beyond the doorstep.”
Fire officers and police are investigating the cause of the blaze which happened around 9.30am on Saturday. There were no other occupants.
The house remained cordoned off last night, although relatives were allowed access.
Neighbour Tracy Porter said: “It’s a tragedy. But Steve was a real hero for doing what he did.
“He tried his best to get inside to rescue the man, but there was no way he could reach him.
“We are all shocked that the man has died. I didn’t really know the family, but they seemed very nice.”
Mrs Porter was alerted by noise across the road and watched as offshore worker Steve tried to force his way into the property.
“People were shouting and banging and at that moment my son came running downstairs saying there was a fire and someone was in the house.
“Steve had just been driving past when he stopped and ran up to the front door of the house. No-one seemed to be doing anything and he started kicking at the outer door.
“But, when he got through, the heat and smoke were so intense he just had to back off. Then the fire brigade arrived and went straight in with breathing masks on.
“They brought the guy
out quite quickly and they were working on him on the pavement. His relatives were there. It was awful for them
to see that.”
The dead man was believed to have been married with a teenaged daughter. It is understood he worked for the family firm CTS Instrumentation in Hornby Road.
His brother Jason told the Gazette: “We’re just too upset to talk about it.”
A police spokesman said: “It is a bit early to say what the cause of the blaze was. The fire brigade have deployed their fire investigation team to examine the property.”
Steve, who lives nearby in Dawlish Court, added: “I thought there had to be someone in the house because there was a car on the drive and both doors were locked. I could see a key on the inside.
“I kicked the front door in and then there was a glass door inside, which was also locked. When I kicked that in the heat was just incredible.
“I was shouting to see if there was anybody in there, but I got no response. Things were popping and cracking and the smoke was really thick. I just had to come out.
“When the fire brigade got him out the paramedics were trying to revive him for a good 20 minutes. During that time his poor family turned up.
“I’m just so upset we couldn’t get him out alive.”