AN ELDERLY woman was rescued from her burning home by brave neighbours and police officers.
The 90-year-old was left trapped and barely breathing in her kitchen as fire spread from a hob and her house in Meadow Close, Pinchbeck, filled with smoke.
The drama unfolded just before 2pm on Sunday when neighbours spotted smoke billowing from a window.
Worried neighbours, who were quickly joined by Pc Sam Hall and Pc Paul Smith, grabbed a crowbar and hammer and tried to force their way inside.
“When I got there, neighbours were trying to force their way in at the front and back,” said Pc Smith.
“I really have to commend them for their actions.”
Although a neighbour had a key, the door had been bolted at the top and bottom, leaving them no choice but to kick it in.
In the meantime, Pc Hall had got into the kitchen at the back by breaking the top half of a glazed door with the help of a neighbour.
“I ran around the back and saw Sam in the kitchen, which was on fire,” said Pc Smith. “He had climbed in through a broken window but could not get the lady out the same way.
“We had to break through some of the internal doors to get her out. Everything was starting to melt and we couldn’t turn the door handles.”
He added: “It seemed to take ages but it was merely seconds.”
The woman, suffering from severe smoke inhalation, was taken to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, where she remains in a poorly but stable condition.
“I think training and experience carries you through,” said Pc Smith, who has been an officer for 22 years.
“We have joined to do a job, preserving life and limb. When people are trapped and fire and rescue are on their way, you do what you can. “We are very happy to have gone in to save a life.”
PC Smith said they were “very grateful” to the neighbours. One of them was overcome by smoke fumes.
The kitchen has been left fire damaged, while the rest of the house has been damaged by smoke.
The blaze was extinguished using one hose reel and two sets of breathing apparatus.
A spokesman for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said the cause was believed to be pans on the cooker which had caught fire.
Insp Phil Taylor, from Lincolnshire Police, said: “On arriving at the scene the officers quickly entered the premises to help the elderly woman out of the property to safety.
“The officers are quite clearly to be commended for their quick thinking and courage for getting the woman out, as a result of this quick thinking the situation did not escalate into anything more serious.”