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Two Yorkshire Housing staff members have been praised after helping a young couple when they escaped from a burning building.

Fire crews arrived near Yorkshire Housing headquarters on Lower Briggate, Leeds, on Friday morning following calls made by receptionist Cathy Sutcliffe and homeworks team leader Mark Chipchase around 7.30am while they were on their way to work.

Mark saw smoke billowing out of the building and there were fears that fire was raging inside.

“I was walking towards work and saw the smoke and crossed over the road and it was getting thicker and thicker,” said Mark. “I called 999 and told them. One of the builders who was also outside said he couldn’t get to the flats above. We ran in and shouted for people to get out and a man and a woman were there and we told them to get out. We helped them out and got them into the street.”

The shell-shocked couple were dressed only in their bedclothes, so Mark and Cathy brought them into the office, found something warm for them to wear and made some tea.

The couple, Millie and Joel, had been enjoying a night away in Leeds when they were woken by a small alarm, but when it became noisier and noisier they realised it wasn’t a drill. Millie said: “I heard an alarm and we woke up and when we went downstairs we saw the smoke so we knew it was serious. It is not the wake-up call you want. We just saw lots of smoke. We found out it was a fire in the takeaway underneath.

“We got out down the fire escape and we saw Mark and he asked if we were ok and gave us some clothes to wear. We are now just waiting to see if our stuff is ok. Thankfully it was just smoke and not fire.”

Luckily Mark and Cathy were on hand to help the pair, who spent hours on Friday morning in Dysons watching the fire crews from the canteen downstairs. They were grateful to Yorkshire Housing for their help. “Everyone has been really nice,” said Millie.

And as for Mark and Cathy, they brushed off their new-found hero status and got on with their day. Well, almost. Mark added: “It’s all in a day’s work. I’m off to save some cats now.”