“There were balls of flames and black smoke”: words of brave woman who rushed into burning flat

Wood View, Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead. Photo: Google Streetview
Wood View, Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead. Photo: Google Streetview

A woman recovering from back surgery bravely dashed into a burning flat with her rescue dog in a bid to save her neighbour.

Michelle Little, who is registered disabled and walks with a stick, believed her neighbour of 25 years was trapped inside his blazing ground floor flat on Thursday evening.

Without hesitation she rushed inside the Wood View home in Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead, followed by her loyal pooch Idda.

The 46-year-old said: “I went in there because I thought I heard a voice. I went in with my dog to try and get him out of there but the heat and the smoke was too much.

“There were balls of flames and black smoke.

“I just thought I’m not going to stand here and watch.
I don’t feel like a hero. I just think that everyone should be keeping an eye out for their neighbours.”

During her frantic search, Michelle, who suffered burns to her hands, was helped by her seven-year-old terrier cross dog Idda.

“When we were in there I couldn’t see the front door because we were surrounded by smoke,” said Michelle, who rescued the pup from the streets of Italy when she was just three weeks old.

“I went to go into the kitchen but she led me out of the front door to safety. If it hadn’t been for her I could have been stuck in there.

“She seemed to know exactly what to do – I was just panicking.”

Michelle thought she heard her neighbour call out from inside the burning property and tried to get in through both the front door and the rear balcony doors but was battled back each time by smoke and flames.

Thankfully it was later discovered that the man was not inside the flat and he is now staying with relatives.

Three fire crews from Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Kings Langley battled the flames after being called just after 7.15pm.

Michelle was given oxygen at the scene and required treatment to her burnt hands. No-one else was hurt.

A fire investigation into the cause of the blaze has been launched by Herts Fire and Rescue Service.