A heroic neighbour who tried to save a man from a burning house has told of the “surreal” moment he broke down the door and battled against the flames in a bid to drag him to safety.

Christopher Belgrove, who lives in Jasmine Crescent, Princes Risborough, was the first person to see his neighbour’s home on fire in the early hours of Monday morning (May 15).

After calling the fire brigade at 12.33am, he broke down the door in a brave effort to rescue the man inside – but unfortunately, the occupant sadly died.

Mr Belgrove said: “We were the first people to smell the smoke and came out and that is when we saw the fire. I called the fire brigade and I thought if there was a chance that he was still inside that I should go in and get him.

“I kicked in the door and went in a few times but it was a bit too much. I was shouting and calling to him, saying “wake up, wake up”.

“It was quite scary. I just went in without thinking. I wouldn’t change what I did, I thought I could have dragged him out.”

Another neighbour, Brian Lewis, said Mr Belgrove was a “hero” for trying to get inside the burning building to save the man.

Recalling the events of the night, he said: “I was asleep and someone knocked on my door to let me know what was going on.

The man who knocked on my door [Mr Belgrove] was a diamond. He said “the house is alight”.

 “I looked outside and I just saw a huge orange ball. He really tried his hardest to get in there. It all happened quite quickly, then fire brigade came and took over.

“He was so brave, he actually went in and tried to save him but he couldn’t get very far. Then the fire brigade came and took over. But it is a good thing he got home when he did because the fire was just beginning to roar.”

Mr Lewis said he did not know much about the man who sadly passed away in the fire.

He said: “I have only lived here a couple of years so I didn’t really know much about him, but we used to say hello to each other.

“It is so horrible. I just hope that he was asleep when it happened so he wasn’t in pain. It is horrible when something like this happens so close to you.”

Mr Belgrove and his family are currently staying with friends because of the smell of smoke inside his house and water damage in his loft.

He added: “We were let back in yesterday but we are staying with friends at the moment because the smell of smoke in the house is very strong and we have some water damage in the loft.

“Because our houses are joined, the fire brigade came in and went into our loft to try and put the fire out.

“It is all still a bit surreal at the moment.”

The identity of the man who sadly died in the fire has not yet been confirmed by the authorities, however his next of kin have been informed.