'Brave' Londonderry men rescue neighbours from chip pan fire
Two men have been praised for rescuing their neighbours from a burning flat in Derry after a chip pan caught fire.
The fire happened at a flat in the Meadowview Crescent area of Rosemount at about 19:00 GMT on Wednesday.
Charlie McAdams, 60, and Regina Fallis, 55, were rescued by two neighbours who noticed the kitchen on fire.
Gary Smyth and Stephen McCallion forced their way in and put the flames out with a blanket. The couple were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.
"I went to bed and was woken up by a loud bang," said Ms Fallis.
"The neighbours broke in because there was a fire. My partner made chips in a pan.
"The whole house was full of black smoke. I couldn't breathe and I thought we were going to die.
"Thanks to the neighbours we were rescued. I can't believe we are here today."
Gary Smyth said he smashed the window with a can of dog food.
"All I wanted to do was help the neighbours," said Mr Smyth.
"I saw the flames and I had to get in. Me and Stephen took them out of the flat.
"They could've been in two coffins today."
Kevin Lynch, district commander with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We could have lost lives."
"A chip pan was left unattended and caused a very serious situation," said Mr Lynch.
"The neighbours were extremely brave and thank God they broke in and woke the man up.
"The fire was in the kitchen and it was extinguished easily.
"I think the public is aware how the fire service feels about chip pans being used. They should never be used."
Independent councillor Darren O'Reilly said: "The neighbours put a window in and got the door opened.
"They were really brave to do what they did."