‘Our hero’: family of Burnley blaze victim praise rescuer

Chris Halson who rescued Thomas Rickwood from his burning house in Burnley Wood. A060711/4
Chris Halson who rescued Thomas Rickwood from his burning house in Burnley Wood. A060711/4

A HERO neighbour who saved the life of a man after a blaze broke out at his home has been praised by the man’s family, community leaders and fire chiefs.

Dad-of-three Chris Halson (49) burst into the home of Thomas Rickwood (19), in Dall Street, Burnley Wood, shortly after 11 p.m. on Monday after the kitchen became engulfed in flames and smoke and pulled him to safety.

Mr Rickwood was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital suffering from the effects of severe smoke inhalation and was discharged the following day but watch manager Steve Harrison, from Burnley Fire Station, said if he had been a minute later the young man may not have survived.

The fire started in a chip pan overheating on the cookere. So thick was the smoke that Mr Halson had to crawl along the floor on his stomach with a rag over his mouth to get to Mr Rickwood who was unconscious at the bottom of the stairs

Thomas’s mum, Mrs Lynn Ferguson, thanked Mr Halson for saving her son’s life.

Mrs Ferguson (40) who was not at home at the time, said: “There is smoke damage to the house and the kitchen is gutted. But it could’ve been a lot worse, Thomas is a lucky boy. Chris is a hero. He risked his own life, he didn’t know what he was going to find.”

But Mr Halson played down the rescue saying: “Anybody else would’ve done the same. Burnley Wood has a bad reputation but there is a good sense of community spirit.”

Mr Halson had been waiting for a takeaway to arrive when the drama unfolded. “I knew Tom was in the house but I didn’t know if there was anyone else in. Looking back I must’ve been feeling brave. It was the adrenaline, I couldn’t sleep that night. My eyes are still stinging from the smoke.”

There’s more on this story in today’s Express