Man to be honoured for evacuating burning building

A Leyland hero is being awarded for his bravery after saving people from a burning building.

Ben Johnston, a resident of Cedar Court, East Street, rescued occupants of a block of flats after an arson attack in May last year.

At 3.58am, he led ground-floor residents to safety and went back in to find the trapped residents on the second floor.

He was hit with a wall of black smoke and heat, and was escorted out by a firefighter when the emergency services arrived.

A Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had entered the building and found Mr Johnston just outside the second floor landing door, where conditions were extreme due to heat and smoke.

“Even in such circumstances, Mr Johnston was keen to help firefighters locate those trapped, but they assured him that they would complete the rescues and that it was essential that he have a thought for his own safety.”

In total, 17 people were rescued, and nine of those needed hospital treatment as a result of smoke inhalation.

Mr Johnston will be handed his award from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire at Leyland Fire Station on Thursday.