Neath Port Talbot's Marcus Evans saves woman from burning house

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media captionFire rescue: "I've never been in somewhere so hot. It was boiling"

A teenager dashed into a burning house to rescue an elderly woman after hearing her cries for help.

Marcus Evans acted after seeing a police support officer outside the house which had smoke pouring from it.

He twice ran inside the house in Baglan, Neath Port Talbot, before he was able to lift the unconscious woman to safety.

Marcus, whose own mother died from cancer, said he was motivated by not wanting anyone to suffer such a loss.

The 19-year-old, who lives in Baglan, told BBC Wales: "I was coming back from the shops when I saw a PCSO on the phone outside a house.

"There was smoke coming out of the chimney and the side of the house. I went over and I could hear the woman inside."

The officer managed to kick the door open and went in but was overcome by the thick smoke and had to retreat.

However, Marcus did not hesitate to go in but on his first attempt he was also beaten back by the smoke.

image copyrightMarcus Evans
image captionMum Clare Evans was Marcus's inspiration for his heroic act

Even though there were flames nearby and the heat was overwhelming, he went back in.

"When I was in there I could see nothing, it was just pitch black," he said.

"I could just see the glowing from the flames. The heat in there - I've never been in somewhere so hot. It was boiling."

This time, Marcus was able to find the 78-year-old woman at the back of the house.

'I was in shock'

"She was unconscious by the time I got there," Marcus said. "I picked her up and carried her out the back door."

"I just laid her down and tried to make sure she was alright."

The woman was later taken to Morriston Hospital, where she was placed in an induced coma because of her injuries following the fire on Thursday.

Marcus fortunately did not need any treatment as he was "completely fine".

"[But] I was in shock for a while. I couldn't believe what had just happened," he admitted.

"One minute I was in the shop, the next minute I was pulling someone out of a burning building."

image copyrightMarcus Evans
image captionMarcus has received lots of praise locally for his actions, his family said

Memories of losing his own mother Clare two years ago, had made him determined to prevent another family going through the same thing, he explained.

"I know how it feels to lose your mother. I don't want anyone to go through that," he explained.

"Natural instincts just kicked in and I thought, 'Help that woman, because I knew she'd have daughters, sons'.

"I didn't think. I just went in and grabbed her. In situations like that, you just can't think about the worst. My main thing was getting that woman out of that building."

Marcus's aunt, Louise Ball, said the whole family was extremely proud.

"We're all thrilled to bits with him. It's been a tough couple of years for him, so the fact he's brave enough to do something like this, I've got no words for it," she said.

"It happened so fast for him that when he did settle down, what he saw was very scary for someone of his age so thinking about it afterwards he was in shock."

Cash reward

She said people locally had been very supportive of him which had been "fantastic".

"All his aunties and uncles, we're all absolutely beaming and buzzing with pride, and I know his mother will be shining the biggest, brightest star from up there, she'll be buzzing with pride."

She said it was nice to see a young person recognised for good deeds at a time when young people could come in for a lot of criticism.

Her words were echoed by Team Ruby, a Port Talbot charity which fundraises for local people in need of help and worked with Marcus and his family during his mother's illness.

The charity has recognised his act of bravery with a cash reward for his actions.

Member Paul Evans said: "I don't know what to say - it makes us emotional.

"We'd like to say how very proud us, the village and the town are of him.

"It's a selfless act. Marcus said anyone would have done it but I don't think just anyone would have."

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