Hero dad-of-three rescues pensioner from Grangemouth flat fire

Hero dad Drew Keltie, who rescued a neighbour from her burning flat, with son Aiden (12)
Hero dad Drew Keltie, who rescued a neighbour from her burning flat, with son Aiden (12)

A dad-of-three who rescued an 87-year-old woman from a flat fire insists he was merely acting on “natural instinct”.

Heroic Drew Keltie (40) instantly rushed to the pensioner’s aid after neighbour Joan Butler alerted him to the blaze, which broke out at an address in Union Road, Grangemouth on Sunday night.

The Network Rail signalling engineer could hear the woman shouting for help and, with no fire engine sirens sounding in the area, decided to follow his intuition.

He then kicked the door down before crawling through plumes of smoke to reach the woman, who relies on a zimmer frame and was unable to get up off her seat.

Despite the pensioner collapsing due to the fumes, Drew was able to catch her in time and carry her back out to the entrance.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Before the incident, Banknock-born Drew had been clearing up dishes at home with daughters Jordan (15) and ten-year-old Abbie, while his wife Louise and son Aiden (12) were in London.

Recalling his actions, he said: “My neighbour banged on the door to say there was a fire downstairs and I went to see what was happening.

“The lady’s daughter was outside the front door saying she was inside so I kicked the door in. If I didn’t hear the lady I maybe wouldn’t have went in but once I heard the voice I knew I had to go in. It was natural instinct.

“I stuck my hand through the letterbox first and it was pretty hot.

“As soon as I opened the door the smoke came belching out but I got down on my hands and knees and went right along the hall shouting ‘keep talking’ so I could find her.

“I knew I had to get her out so I shimmied backwards with her in my arms. Her neighbours were there when I got her out and we carried her right to the edge of the pavement.

“She was black from head to toe but she opened her eyes and they were crystal blue so I knew she was awake at that point.

“She’ll be in hospital for a good few days but she’s doing alright, all things considered.”

Having ensured the lady was safely out the building, Drew returned to the flat to extinguish the fire on his own by filling a kettle up seven times to douse the flames.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene just three minutes after the woman was carried out the building praised Drew for his bravery.

Drew was also told the blaze could have been fatal had he not acted when he did.

The brave dad added: “The fire crew said it had probably been burning for at least ten minutes so the inspector said I probably did save her life.

“I thought about it afterwards and wondered what I had done. I’ve had folk at the door constantly.

“I don’t know what to think. Sometimes I think I’m pretty stupid and other times I’m pretty chuffed with myself.”

Both Drew and the rescued pensioner were taken to hospital for checks afterwards, with the former discharged on Sunday night. The woman was kept in and is said to be in a stable condition.

Drew’s neighbour Keith Booth, Joan’s partner, has also been singled out for praise after initially spotting the blaze developing from a kitchen window.

Keith had run down to check on the pensioner’s condition originally, however, despite trying to get the woman safely out the property, was unable to and urged his partner to call the fire brigade and alert neighbours.

Drew has advised anyone who ever finds themselves in a similar situation to remain as calm as possible.

He said: “I’d tell people just to keep a level head.

“I have a lot of respect for firefighters as they’ve got to deal with that sort of thing every day.”

A fire service spokesman said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 6.06pm on Sunday, April 1 to reports of a dwelling fire.

“Operations Control mobilised a number of fire engines to Union Road, Grangemouth, where firefighters extinguished the fire. Crews left the scene after ensuring the area had been made safe.”