A MAN has been hailed a hero after his actions saved his neighbour’s life.

Father-of-two James Kennedy had put his dinner on to cook, but fell asleep at his home, in Trunette Road, Clacton, on Friday.

Luckily, next door neighbour Steven Hudson heard the smoke alarm, called the fire service and shouted at Mr Kennedy, 49, to wake up.

Mr Kennedy’s sister-in-law, Deborah Georgeson, said: “The firefighters said to us, another five minutes and he would have been dead, so really the neighbour saved his life.”

Mr Hudson, 43, saw smoke pouring out of the bedroom window of the semi-detached house after hearing the smoke alarm at around 7.35pm.

He said: “I phoned the fire service and opened the front door. I tried to go in, but the smoke and the fire was so bad I could only stand there for 20 seconds or so.

“The smoke was that thick, I couldn’t see anything. I stuck my head in and started shouting out his name. I thought he was a goner, because the smoke was so thick. After he came out into the garden, the flames were lapping outside his front door.”

Mr Hudson said his neighbour was disoriented from the smoke, but quickly realised his greyhound Biddy was still inside.

He tried to go back for her, but Mr Hudson held him back.

Mr Kennedy, who lives alone, was treated at the scene by firefighters.

He was taken to Colchester General Hospital and treated for shock and smoke inhalation. He was discharged on Saturday morning, and is understood to be staying with relatives.

Three crews wore breathing apparatus and put out the blaze by 10pm. Unfortunately, Biddy died.

Mr Hudson added: “I just hope he’s OK.”