Hero Stoke Newington man runs into burning building in underpants to rescue elderly neighbour

Joe Charles and his father Keith. Picture: Polly Hancock

Joe Charles and his father Keith. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A hero neighbour ran into a burning building in his underpants to rescue an elderly woman whose Stoke Newington home had gone up in flames.

Startling CCTV footage shows Keith Charles dashing over the road and through the blazing threshold to save his neighbour.

Modest man Keith, 52, was woken by his son Joe at 4am on January 12 after he spotted the house across from theirs in Belgrade Road was on fire.

“I heard my son screaming at 4am,” Keith told the Gazette.

“My wife and I were asleep. He had heard Mrs Brown knocking on the window and was shouting that her place was on fire.

“My son opened the front door and it was just a thing where I panicked. I ran out and ran to her front door and kicked it in. I know it sounds a bit stupid but the woman must be about 80 and I’ve known her since I moved onto the road 10 years ago.

“I weren’t thinking at all. I had to get her out, she’s so nice, and it could have haunted me for the rest of my life if I hadn’t.

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“I’m not a fireman, far from it, but I had to take that chance.

“The fire came right to us in the hallway. I got her out and gave her to my wife who brought her inside and called 999.”

Even though the clip shows him running into the flames, he escaped with only cuts and bruises.

By the time firefighters got to the scene, Mrs Brown was safe and sound.

One, praising Keith’s bravery, told the Gazette: “He ran straight through into the fire and rescued the woman from inside. By the time we got there, there wasn’t much to do!”

Keith added: “If my son didn’t wake us up we would still have been asleep.

“Her daughter and grandkids came over crying. They were so appreciative of what I had done.

“They said a lot of people would have called 999 and not gone that far.”