Darren Rackstraw’s top-floor unit in Brathwaite Road caught on fire after an explosion early last Wednesday morning.
Ricky Bromfield, who lived in the unit below with his wife Marjorie and their children, was woken by the explosion and ran to Mr Rackstraw’s aid.
‘I looked upstairs and smoke was pouring out of Darren’s unit ” I screamed at Marjorie and the kids to get out of the house because there’s a fire,’ he said.
‘When I was upstairs I called for Darren and all I heard was him screaming inside so I broke the door down and ran into the lounge room and got him.
‘As I was pulling Darren out of the house I was screaming to other people that heard the explosion and had seen the flames to start banging on everyone’s door to get everyone out.’
The 24-year-old said he had a close relationship with Mr Rackstraw and that it was difficult for him to see his friend in pain.
‘It looked as if he had second-degree burns all over his body ” it looked as though it was at least 90 per cent of his body when I grabbed him out,’ he said.
‘I didn’t really think about it when I was up there grabbing him but when I sat him on the chair in the carpark that’s when I had a better look and reality hit.’
Six units in the Department of Housing complex were extensively damaged in the fire, with about 20 tenants evacuated.
Department of Housing general manager of service delivery Steve Parry confirmed those people were staying in motels or with family and friends.
‘Damage to the property is still being assessed,’ Mr Parry said.
A Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said the cause of the explosion and fire was undetermined.