NEIGHBOURS stepped in to rescue a man from his house after a fire broke out in the kitchen. 

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said two people entered the house in Pontefract Road, Bicester yesterday, after hearing the smoke alarms going off. 

One neighbour had gone to investigate after noticing the alarm had been sounding for several minutes. 

He saw smoke coming from the first-floor window and decided to enter the building with another neighbour. 

They rescued the man from the top of the stairs, where he was trapped, and then closed the door to the fire. 

Incident commander Pete Mackay said the actions of the pair 'undoubtedly' saved the man's life. 

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He added: "Had it not been for the prompt actions of the neighbours and brave rescue this could have had a very different outcome, including the loss of life."

Fire engines arrived after eight minutes and found the man on the front grass suffering from smoke inhalation.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire in the kitchen using a hose and then ventilated the building to clear the smoke while medically trained firefighters attended to the injured occupant outside. 

Mr Mackay, from Bicester Fire Station, said: “This incident highlights the absolute importance of smoke alarms in properties for raising the alarm even if a person is incapacitated and unable to escape themselves.

"Whilst we would advise everyone to stay out of a property, and call us immediately, the two neighbours did call the fire service straight away, then checked and established that the fire was small enough that they could quickly rescue the occupant and undoubtedly saved his life on hearing the smoke alarm. 

"We cannot emphasise enough the importance of working smoke alarms.”