Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Fire rescue man denies being hero

Godsons coach
Mr Hangle was driving through Church Fenton when he saw the fire

A coach driver who rescued a disabled man, his wife and their dog from a burning house in North Yorkshire said he acted on instinct and is not a hero.

James Hangle, 27, of Shipley, West Yorkshire, was driving through the village of Church Fenton on Saturday when he saw the fire.

He stopped his coach and ran into the property, helping Bob Hutchinson and his wife Isobel to safety.

"It was just a spur of the moment thing I did," Mr Hangle said.

The driver was working on a rail replacement service run by Leeds-based Godson Coaches when he saw the fire.

Mr Hangle said he was taking passengers from York, through the village of Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, and on to the town of Micklefield.

My brain just went into override and off I went
James Hangle

"I was driving into Church Fenton and came into a lot of thick black smoke and slowed down.

"When I'd got through the smoke, I looked over and saw a house on fire."

Mr Hangle said he pulled up and ran over the road to the house. He found an elderly woman standing at the door and moved her away.

"Mrs Hutchinson said her husband was inside," Mr Hangle said.

"All I could see was smoke and nothing else, so I ran upstairs.

"Her husband was stood up, but is disabled, so I helped him downstairs - it took some time - and I helped him out."

Mr Hangle said he then heard a bark and went around back of the house to retrieve the couple's dog. Within minutes the fire service turned up.

"I don't class myself as a hero.

"It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things and I'm not one to going to go running into buildings, but my brain just went into override and off I went."

Richard Godson, the owner of the coach firm said Mr Hangle's reactions had been "wonderful".

"He did really well, it was very public spirited.

"If James hadn't have been there, I dread to think what would happened, I'm very impressed."

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