A woman has told how she ran into a blazing house to rescue a mother and four children despite being a chronic asthmatic.
Bev Stephens was hailed a heroine by firefighters after the fire yesterday afternoon in Handsworth, Birmingham.
The 42-year-old mother-of three had just left her home in Westminster Road when she saw Latifa Ahmed waving frantically from a window.
The quick-thinking neighbour did not let her medical condition stop her from running into the house and leading Latifa and the children to safety.
Ms Stephens said: "I am fine, but I took a real chance.
"I just knew I could not leave that house without those children.
"If I had not stopped, anything could have happened. This is not about me or my asthma - they needed help." The NHS support worker saw Latifa and the children screaming for help from the first-floor flat at 2pm.
The door to the front room had become jammed and Latifa, her sons Mohammed, aged six and Masoud, aged five and her nieces 11-year-old Aisha and Jamile, aged five, were all trapped.
Ms Stephens said: "The main front door was open, but when I got to the top floor I could smell smoke coming from behind the kitchen door.
"It was closed, but when I pushed it there were flames everywhere. I ran to her front room, but the door was jammed so I kicked it in.
"She wanted to get some things, but I told her to get out of the house. I called the fire brigade and then they came and sorted it out."
Handsworth assistant divisional fire officer Dave Justice said: "She did a good job. She saw the smoke from the house, raised the alarm and led the occupants to safety. What she did was very commendable."
Unemployed Latifa, aged 29, said: "I stood at the window for 15 minutes asking for help.
"Most people must have thought we were just waving at them. Thank God our neighbour rescued us."