Haverhill footballer ‘cheated death’ with third-floor leap

Firefighters outside  the house fire in Little Thurlow

Firefighters outside the house fire in Little Thurlow

A survivor of a fire has recalled how he ‘cheated death’ by smashing a window with his hand and leaping from the third floor of the fire ravaged building.

Not only did the swift actions of Owen Longley save his own life following the fire at the house in The Street, Little Thurlow, they also ensured five other people inside made it out alive after he raised the initial alarm.

Owen, 22, who lives in Arrendene Road, Haverhill, relived the events of the early hours of Sunday, January 26.

Waking up just before 3am to find the attic room filled with smoke and flames he managed to get out of bed and despite, ‘not being able to see my hand in front of my face’ pulled out of bed a friend who was in the same room and yelled for help.

Owen, a midfielder for Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Haverhill Borough, went on: “Her dad came upstairs and I waited until they got her out but as they got her out of the door there was too much smoke and fire and I couldn’t get out of the door so I had to smash the window.

“I just jumped from the attic window which was three storeys up. It was the only way out. If I had not done that I would have died - 100 per cent.

“I just pray to God that everyone survived. I thought that was it, that I had died.

“I think If I didn’t jump out of the window I would have died. At the hospital they said If I was in there for another five minutes I would have died.

“I’m a very lucky boy. I cheated death.”

Remarkably Owen, who in a perverted twist of irony works for East Anglia Fire Protection, landed on the driveway but has only suffered a suspected fractured elbow and cuts and bruises.

He was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, where he spent the morning on oxygen due to the smoke inhalation he had suffered.

All five other people in the house, the owners Lewis Huelin and his wife Lucy, their daughters Emily, 18, Anna, 11, plus Anna’s friend, got outside through the back door after the alarm was raised at 3am.

Mr Huelin and Emily were also treated at hospital for smoke inhalation.

More than 30 firefighters tackled the blaze in the Grade-II listed house from their arrival at 3.30am until the final crew left after 1pm.

The house, which had just been sold, is now so smoke and water-damaged it is uninhabitable and the attic floor was gutted.

A relieved Owen, who was due to discover yesterday (Wednesday) if his elbow was fractured, went on to say: “I didn’t fancy dying really, just jumping and hoping for the best.

“As I hit the floor there was a big explosion and all the windows smashed.

“In the room I had just jumped out of the windows just went bang as I hit the floor.

“A couple of moments more and it would have gone bang with me in it.”




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