Man rescued from blaze dies in hospital

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A WIGAN man who was rescued from his burning house by two neighbours has died.

Lesley Cunliffe, 62, was pulled from an inferno, which started at the back of his house, by Robert Barker and Karl Heaver last Friday and, despite showing signs of improvement in his condition, he died just after 7pm on Wednesday night.

Straight after the incident, which happened in the early hours of Friday September 16, in Leaway, Ince, Mr Cunliffe was said to be in a critical condition in Wigan Infirmary.

At one point he was too ill even to be transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital’s specialist burns unit.

But, in recent days, the authorities were pleased to see the man’s condition stabilise and it was thought he was on the slow road to recovery. He was taken off the critical list and was deemed to be stable by hospital staff.

On Wednesday evening, however, he took a turn for the worst and he died at 7.15pm at Wythenshawe Hospital to where he had been transferred a few days before.

Mr Barker, 33, and 24-year-old Mr Heaver’s bravery in rescuing their neighbour was commended by the fire service, who said that, without their intervention, Mr Cunliffe would have died in the blaze.

After the incident, a Fire Investigation Team was moved into the house to establish what caused the blaze, but, because the extent of the damage done, it has not yet been able to clarify how it started.

Mr Cunliffe’s rescuers managed to fight back flames pouring into an alleyway at the side of the house, which is where the man had collapsed, and pull him to safety. He was suffering with 36 per cent burns to his body.

Moments later, there was an explosion and the alleyway was engulfed by flames.

Neighbours were alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm that had been fitted just a few months prior to the blaze.