A quick-thinking taxi driver who helped evacuate residents of a Northampton block of flats that was engulfed in flames last month has been praised by people living there. Fire crews were called to the Newlife Building 2, in Lower Cross Street at about 11.40pm, a spokes-man for the fire service said. A major fire on the fifth floor was be-ginning to spread, and residents of the apartment block had to be evacuated immediately.
The cause of the fire was still not known, though one first floor resident was told there had been an “explosion”. Taxi driver Luan Qesaraku, 32, and his wife Mikaela Jaku, were the first to see smoke coming from the Newlife building at around 11.30pm. Mr Qes-araku, who lives opposite the flats, told the Northampton Chronicle: “For some reason my wife woke up in the night and opened the window. She said it looked like there was a small fire in the block opposite, but it started to increase.
“I called the fire service, then I went outside. I was shouting for people to leave the building, I don't know how many heard me. But I think I did the right thing.”
Their neighbour, Deqa Shariff, des-cribed how hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the building. Carol Lack, 48, was in bed in her first-floor apartment in the Newlife building, when she heard people shouting outside. She has praised the quick actions of Mr Qesaraku, for spotting the flames quickly and then alerting the residents. There have been no reported casualties so far.
“I just saw some blue lights and I thought there must have been a fire,” said Ms Lack. “I came out onto my balcony - people were screaming at me to get out. They said there had been an explosion. There were a lot of children out here as well.”