David Kaye, 62, roused arson victim Norman Terrell, 51, as flames engulfed his static caravan at the Cayton Bay holiday park near Scarborough.
Mr Terrell had been sleeping while his twisted former partner Jayne Bladen, 47, torched his motorbike and caravan in the dead of night.
Bladen also cut off the water supply to the static home and boasted on Facebook “it’s hot in Cayton tonight” an hour after setting the fire. Mr Kaye, who was on holiday with his family, was on his way to the beach for a spot of metal-detecting in the early hours of the morning when he saw a huge pall of black smoke billowing from Mr Terrell’s caravan.
Mr Kaye, from Batley, banged on the caravan’s door and windows, and managed to rouse Mr Terrell just in time. Mr Terrell darted out of the caravan before the fire gutted his home.
Bladen, 47, of Royal Avenue, who had earlier been pestering Mr Terrell with chilling text messages, was arrested and charged with arson with intent to damage property and endanger life on June 20 last year. She denied the offence but a jury found her guilty and she was jailed for nine years in December.
This week Mr Kaye was officially recognised for his bravery at York Crown Court, where Judge Paul Batty QC, the Recorder of York, credited him with saving Mr Terrell’s life.
Mr Batty, who was flanked on the bench by Judge Guy Kearl QC and High Sheriff Charles Forbes-Adam, told the assorted guests, including high-ranking police officers: “On June 20 2015, at Cayton Bay holiday park, a deranged and drunken woman set fire to a motorcycle and caravan belonging to her former boyfriend.
“The fire took hold with crushing speed and the occupant of the caravan, Mr Terrell, was asleep. David Kaye knew that the caravan was occupied but it just so happened that, at 3.45am, he intended to go out to do some metal-
detecting on the beach.
“He saw the caravan was well ablaze and, with no thought for his personal safety, with flames all about him, he kicked open the caravan front door and roused the
occupant from his slumber.
“There is no doubt that his actions saved that man’s life and his actions are deserving of the highest praise.”
Mr Kaye was presented with a bravery and special-commendation certificate by the High Sheriff Mr Forbes-Adam, as well as £500 from public funds.
Mr Forbes-Adam described Mr Kaye’s heroics as “extremely brave and valiant work”.
But modest Mr Kaye , one of several local heroes to be commended during the ceremony on Tuesday, said later: “I don’t think I did anything brave; you just do what you have to do.
“I think anybody walking past would have done the same.”