'It was instinct' - Hero in socks battled Lowestoft flat fire to save woman

flat fire spexhall way

Stephen McIver (right) rushed into a burning flat fire on Spexhall Way in Lowestoft after he realised someone could be dying inside. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

A heroic man has told how he risked his life by running into a burning Lowestoft flat to try and save a vulnerable woman.

The woman was later arrested on suspicion of setting her own flat alight and spitting at a police officer.

She has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

stephen mciver

Stephen McIver, says it was his natural instinct to run into the blaze. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

Stephen McIver, 49, was sitting with his girlfriend in his ground floor flat on Thursday, June 10 when he heard a fire alarm go off in the flat above him.

Rushing outside, Mr McIver looked up to see billowing black smoke coming out of the flat and risked his life running into the flat.

He said: "I ran in, just in my t-shirt, socks and shorts and there was fire and smoke everywhere. It was my natural instinct.

"I managed to douse the fire on the landing. I shot upstairs but I could not see a thing. It was terrifying.

"It seemed like I was in there for a lifetime. I was trying to find the woman. I thought she had died. I thought I was going to die.

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"After a while I headed back out after dousing much of the fire out. I thought I was going to collapse. It was at that point that she was stood outside, just watching the flat burn.

"I hope the woman gets the medical help she needs. The rescue has left me feeling stressed and strained. It was only after a few days I thought, I could have died."

leigh greene

Leigh Greene, witnessed Stephen running into the flat fire and has said it is a miracle no one died. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

Leigh Greene, 37, lives in Gorleston but had just finished a shift at work in the area when the blaze started.

He recalled the terrifying moment he thought people were burning alive inside the flat.

He said: "For about four minutes of my life I thought someone was burning alive inside. It is a horrific feeling.

"I went on to the roof and smashed the window but I didn't go inside.

"The fascias were billowing hot and I felt convinced someone vulnerable was inside.

"I was scared Steven was going to die as well.

"I was just grateful no one died in the fire. It is a miracle."

spexhall way

Fire fighters and police officers were called to the scene of arson at Spexhall Way in Lowestoft on Thursday, June 10. - Credit: Victoria Pertusa