'I thought I'd die in that flat' - South Yorkshire man speaks of horrific arson ordeal

Wagon Road, Greasbrough, Rotherham. Photo: Google
Wagon Road, Greasbrough, Rotherham. Photo: Google

A South Yorkshire man has spoken of the horrifying moment he awoke to discover his flat had been set on fire, leading him to fear he may not make it out alive.

Darren Proctor was asleep in the bedroom of his ground floor flat in Wagon Road, Greasborough late on the evening of Friday, March 31 when he says he heard shouting coming from outside the flat.

Believing the shouting was being caused by arguing neighbours, 36-year-old Darren initially tried to go back to sleep before getting up to use the bathroom.

"I could see this horrible orange glow in the corridor. I opened the bathroom door, and this thick gulf of smoke came out of the bathroom and went down my throat," said Darren.

He added: "I quickly shut the door. I went to try and get out through the front door, but I couldn't. I thought 'oh my gosh, what am I going to do now?'

"I thought I was going to die in that flat.

"I went into the kitchen, and my neighbours were shouting 'get out, get out'. I then heard them shouting to the firefighters 'there's someone in this flat, get him out'.

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"My neighbours Kyle and Gill pulled me out through the kitchen window. They saved my life, I don't know what I would have done if they weren't there."

A sofa that had been left outside for collection by Darren had been set alight and flames had spread to the building, a South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokesman confirmed earlier today.

Watch manager Eric Bugdol said the sofa had been next to the gas and electric meters, so all seven flats were evacuated as a precaution.

The fire was put out by 3am and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

"Rotherham Council were supposed to be picking it up on Monday, I'd only just left it there when that happen," said Darren.

The Fire Service and South Yorkshire Police are treating the incident as arson, and Darren says he has been left without electricity and food and has been told not to return to the property until at least Friday.

He said: "I've got no electricity, no food, no nothing. I'm having to stay with friends because I can't go back.

"I can't believe someone would do this, and put the lives of at least 13 people at risk. I'm just disgusted. I could have died, so could my neighbours."