(From left) Isle of Wight police Supt Will Schofield, station manager David Grundy, Stephen Eggleton, Philip Pearce, Rona Jackson and Chief Fire Officer Steve Apter.
THE bravery of two men, who risked their lives to rescue an elderly woman from a house fire, was recognised by Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service today (Tuesday).
Stephen Eggleton, 34 and Phil Pearce, 42, received commendations after coming to the aid of Isobel Nerval, 85, when fire broke out at her home in Victoria Road, Newport, last October.
After being alerted to the fire by neighbour Rona Jackson — who heard smoke alarms coming from Ms Nerval’s house — Mr Eggleton broke into the home.
Speaking at today’s presentation he said: "When I got inside and pulled the door back it was thick with black smoke. I couldn't really move her and the smoke was starting to affect my brain, I couldn't really think straight."
He went back outside for air and called on neighbour, Phil.
Phil said: "The smoke was so thick. Stephen was worried about hurting her, but I know from first aid courses we just had to get her out of there, so I dragged her by the feet into the next room."
They managed to get Ms Nerval to safety and she was taken to St Mary's Hospital, before being transferred to Morriston Hospital in Swansea, however she died two weeks.
Stephen said: "What made it worthwhile was that her family got to say goodbye. I know she died, but it means a lot that they had that chance."
Chief fire officer Steve Apter said: "The bravery and community spirit shown by these guys is outstanding, they didn't want any awards, but we felt they deserved them. The heat and claustrophobic conditions must have been incredible. I can't stress enough how important it is to have working fire alarms."
Rona, who months before the fire had arranged for a safety visit to Ms Nerval’s house — leading to new smoke alarms being fitted — was given a letter of appreciation.