TWO people who risked their lives to try to save a couple in a blazing house were praised today.
Police saluted the heroism of Julie King and Arfan Ahmed, who made valiant attempts to save a couple.
Sadly Mrs Sandra Appleyard, 59, died in the blaze at her Crosland Moor home.
But her husband Brian, 65, was rescued by the pair who had spotted flames ripping through the College Street house in Crosland Moor.
Julie, 38, was walking her dogs while 20-year-old Arfan was on his way home.
The fire is thought to have started in an upstairs bedroom shortly after 10pm last Wednesday.
Factory supervisor Julie, of Walpole Road, Crosland Moor, was walking her dogs Tayfa and Charlie when she saw a red glow in one of the windows.
She said: "I thought it looked odd and then realised there was smoke coming from the house.
"I ran up the street and banged on the door, but nobody came. I hammered on the neighbour's door and shouted to a lady to call the fire brigade and then went back to the burning house as she said there was an elderly couple inside.
"I managed to break a panel in the door and went inside. It was thick with smoke and very hot, but I found an old man in a chair. I shook him and shouted at him to get out, but as we did he cried: `My wife is in there'.
"I got him outside and was joined by Arfan. The man from the house told me there was a ladder in the garage so we went back through the house and brought it to the front.
"We tried to smash the bedroom window but it was no good, so Arfan and I went back inside. We wrapped tea-towels from the sink round our faces and tried to get up the stairs.
"I could hardly see anything because of the smoke but it was hot, so hot the skin on my arms blistered. We tried our best but we had to get out just before the fire brigade arrived.
"I was sickened when I realised that the lady had died."
Arfan, a trainee plumber and electrician who lives on Park Road just around the corner from College Street, was returning home in his car when he saw the smoke and drove up the road to see if he could help.
"There was only Julie there so we were the first people on the scene," he said.
"As we went up the stairs Julie was right behind me and said she would make sure I was all right.
"It was full of smoke and I got to my knees as there was more air lower down near the floor.
"I was crawling on my hands and knees, but it was pitch black in there."
Arfan rushed back out to his car, grabbed his torch and sprinted back in.
"Even with the torch it was no use," he said. "The smoke just made the rays of light reflect straight back.
"The smoke was so bad we couldn't get any more than three feet or so along the landing. There was no way we could have gone any further."
Det Insp Steve Hepplestone, of Huddersfield CID, said: "Both Arfan and Julie made heroic efforts to save Mrs Appleyard and were beaten back by the dense smoke.
"They did everything they possibly could and both were exceptionally brave."