Decorator and his nephew make sure fire doesn’t start at Gosport home

HELPING HAND Nathan Coleman with his nephew Shay Coleman at the home where the pan was left on. Picture: Sarah Standing (122665-6186)
HELPING HAND Nathan Coleman with his nephew Shay Coleman at the home where the pan was left on. Picture: Sarah Standing (122665-6186)
The fire near Kentidge Way, Waterlooville, yesterday. Picture: Craig Handy

Suspected arson incident in Waterlooville causes £50,000 of damage

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QUICK-thinking Nathan Coleman has been praised after he sprang into action when he spotted his neighbour’s smoke-filled house.

The painter and decorator was working on his home in Tukes Avenue, Gosport, with help from his nephew Shay, eight.

Nathan was returning home from the shops when he saw smoke billowing out from his neighbour’s home, on Saturday at 1pm.

Acting fast, he climbed into the property to check on his neighbour Gwen Thornhill.

Nathan said: ‘I’d been to the shops and on the way back I could see smoke coming out of Gwen’s window.

‘I knocked on the windows and was looking in but couldn’t see her.

‘When I couldn’t I told Shay to ask a neighbour to call 999.

‘I got some ladders and climbed into an open window and entered the house to look for Gwen.

‘I couldn’t see her and worked my way into the kitchen.

‘I know I shouldn’t have gone in, but I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if something had happened to her.’

Pensioner Gwen was out, but had left two eggs boiling in a pan of water.

The burning eggs set off the smoke alarms.

Nathan found the pan and took it off the heat.

Shay said: ‘I went to a neighbour’s house and asked them to call 999.

‘Then I waited outside the street so I could direct the firefighters to the right house.

‘I was scared but I wanted to help as well.’

Ms Thornhill was not aware of what had happened until she got home.

She said: ‘I’d gone out at midday for a hair appointment and all of a sudden I realised I’d left the gas on, on a low heat.

‘Nathan told me what happened.

‘Both he and Shay were brilliant.

‘My goodness me, there was no question, they were both very brave and I can’t thank them enough.’

One crew from Fareham arrived to check the house was safe.

Watch manager Ian Cambridge said: ‘It was a good neighbourly thing to do, but also potentially dangerous.’