Inquest hears of desperate action to escape blaze

PUBLISHED: 14:33 19 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 May 2010

Natalie Close

Natalie Close

The boyfriend of the woman killed in a fire in a block of flats took desperate action in an attempt to escape the blaze.

Nicholas Savage hung out of the window of the 14th floor flat he shared with Natalie Close in Harrow Court, Stevenage.

He was trying

The boyfriend of the woman killed in a fire in a block of flats took desperate action in an attempt to escape the blaze.

Nicholas Savage hung out of the window of the 14th floor flat he shared with Natalie Close in Harrow Court, Stevenage.

He was trying to escape the heat of the fire coming from the couple’s bedroom where Ms Close was sleeping.

Mr Savage told an inquest: “I thought, I am not going to burn’. So I got out of the window and was just hanging there.”

But Mr Savage, who along with Ms Close had been drinking throughout the day, climbed back in.

A firefighter broke down the door and rescued him.

He told his rescuers that Natalie was still in the bedroom. He said the firefighter replied: “Don’t worry about that, we’ll do all we can.”

Mr Savage was taken to safety in the lift and spent three days in hospital before discharging himself.

The blaze in which Ms Close and firefighters Jeff Wornham and Michael Miller died happened at around 3am on February 2, 2005.

It was started in Mr Savage and Ms Close’s flat by tea lights which were left alight when the couple went to sleep.

They had lit candles after the electricity to their flat ran out.

It was too late for them to buy a card to top up the meter so they borrowed tea lights from their neighbour.

Mr Savage told the court he had not intended to go to sleep with the candles, which he had placed on top of a TV in the bedroom, still burning.

He was woken up at 3am by a popping noise from the candles, and saw a flame of around a foot in height.

“It looked like it was burning fiercely. It was like the whole candle was alight rather than just the wick,” he said.

The inquest hearing continues.

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