Fire hero plays down his part in rescue

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A 28-YEAR-OLD man has been hailed as a hero after dashing across the rooftops in the early hours to rescue a neighbour from a burning building.

Gareth Cooke was heading to bed after letting his dogs out in the early hours of yesterday morning when their barking altered him to the fire in Essex Street, off Hessle Road, Hull.

Mr Cooke heard shouts from a neighbouring street and rushed to help, scaling a 6ft wall in his back garden before jumping on to the extension of the house backing on to his.

In scenes akin to a Hollywood action film he then began to scramble across a row of single-storey roofs until he reached the stricken man.

In all Mr Cooke leapt across eight houses, some with a gap of 4ft between them, before reaching the burning home.

He had to kick through the bottom window and, after removing the glass, managed to drag the man on to the roof until the emergency services arrived.

Mr Cooke, who modestly acknowledged his fitness has been better, said: “I followed the dogs out and looked down the street and then I heard someone shouting for help. I saw a man hanging out of a window.

“I just didn’t think about it and ran down to the bottom of my garden and over the wall.”

The man he rescued, aged in his twenties, told Mr Cooke there were two more people inside and he began to enter the house to find them.

However, at this stage the emergency services arrived and managed to rescue the other men, also aged in their twenties.

All occupants were taken to Hull Royal Infirmary and treated for smoke inhalation. The fire began as a result of unattended cigarettes being left on a rug.

His mother Barbara Cooke, 51, said: “I’m really proud of Gareth. He reacted instinctively and was extremely brave.”

However Mr Cooke down played his role saying: “I wouldn’t like to call myself a hero, anyone would do the same.”