A HERO neighbour saved a family of four from their burning home.
Confronted with flames from a storage shed attached to the burning house, former special forces signaller Patrick Bergin burst into his neighbour’s home in Orange Grove, Gosport, with fire licking at his heels.
The 55-year-old shouted to alert the family, who were just tucking into a Chinese takeaway unaware of the blaze.
Mr Bergin – a Ukip councillor at Gosport Borough Council – scooped up the youngest boy, four, and dashed out the house leading a second boy, 16, to safety with his parents as flames took hold.
At one point Mr Bergin and other rescuers had to flee as they thought gas canisters could be about to explode.
The veteran of Northern Ireland and the Falklands told The News: ‘There were flames licking the roof, shed area and across the front door.
‘Military mode kicked in and I started getting people away – someone shouted there was a family in there.
‘I barged at the door – there was a little one running to it.
‘They’d just taken delivery of a Chinese meal – they were sat in the lounge ready to eat.
‘I was a bit bolshie saying “get out”. Dad grabbed one of the kids, I got the other.
Five minutes later and nobody would have got through there. The place was blanketed in smoke, I couldn’t see in front of my nosePatrick Bergin
‘The flames were engulfing the area.’
As the terrified family fled one realised pet cats had been left inside with the door shut.
Another neighbour, 39, had banged on the windows in vain to alert the family before Mr Bergin arrived at 7.30pm.
With the family free, he rushed to get a hammer from his works van, handed it to another two men who knocked down the back fence with Mr Bergin and smashed a window with the hammer to free the trapped animals.
Mr Bergin, of The Limes, Rowner, said: ‘The main thing is the family are all out.
‘Five minutes later and nobody would have got through there. The place was blanketed in smoke, I couldn’t see in front of my nose.’
Last night the parents and youngest son were recovering from their ordeal at Mr Bergin’s home and were too shaken to speak to The News.
‘They are fine but worried about their goods,’ Mr Bergin, added. ‘Their biggest relief is that four people came out.’
Gosport station commander Tim Spencer-Peet last night said the cause was under investigation.
He said: ‘There was a lot of smoke issuing from the roof space. The fire quickly went into there.
‘It was a growing fire and because it was in a roof space it was difficult to access.
Two fire crews from Gosport and one from Fareham attended, using four jets, six breathing apparatus and two hose reels.