Fearless hero of Manor Park house fire revealed

Face of a hero: Helder Fernandes from Upton Park

Face of a hero: Helder Fernandes from Upton Park - Credit: Archant

A hero who ran into a blazing house to rescue a stranger said he was prepared to die saving the mother-of-two because it was “for a good cause”.

The damaged house in Seventh Avenue after the fire

The damaged house in Seventh Avenue after the fire - Credit: Archant

Helder Fernandes, 34, was staying at his girlfriend’s house last Wednesday night when he stumbled across two children crying for their mum outside a home in Seventh Avenue, Manor Park.

He looked up and saw smoke billowing out of the upstairs window.

Kicking the front door in, he dashed into the house and found their mother unconscious on the floor.

Heroic Helder, from Upton Park, explained: “I just thought I’ve got to go in and take the woman out, and all I had running through my head was the kids.

“I wasn’t scared at the time. I just thought, if I’d have died in there, it would have been for a good cause.”

He carried out the woman in his arms to find a crowd of onlookers had gathered outside and the fire brigade had arrived.

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The brave unemployed builder said this was the first time he had ever risked his life for another person.

Helder added: “The firefighter said I probably saved the woman’s life but they also said it was a very dangerous thing to do as people have lost their lives that way.”

Neighbour Sylvia Edwards said: “He was really brave. He got halfway up the stairs before the smoke forced him back.

“When he got to the bedroom, the door was locked so he had to kick in the door.

“He was covered in soot when he came out. He deserves a medal – he went in when everyone else was just watching.

“If it wasn’t for him she would be dead.”

A fire crew from Ilford tackled the blaze, thought to have started in the front bedroom at around 8pm.

The woman was taken to hospital by ambulance but she is thought to be recovering well. Her children, believed to be about 10 and 15, were unharmed.

The home was partially damaged by the heat and smoke while the 35 per cent of the bedroom was destroyed.