A security guard has been hailed for his heroic actions after rescuing a woman from a blaze at a homeless refuge in York.

The quick-thinking actions of Jamie Warters, a security officer at James House, in James Street, may have also saved the lives of other residents during the fire, his bosses said.

In the early hours of Thursday, March 7, Jamie, who works for Gough & Kelly security services, received a distress call regarding a fire in one of the rooms in James House.  

Jamie immediately alerted the emergency services then rushed to the room to investigate.

When Jamie opened the door to Room 4, he was met by flames but still rushed in to rescue a woman who was the only person in the room.

The woman was taken to York Hospital but suffered no injuries thanks to Jamie's quick actions, the security firm added.


When firefighters arrived at the scene, Jamie helped with the evacuation of the remaining 180 residents, many of whom were disabled, and kept them calm throughout the ordeal.

Jamie said: “When I received the call, I knew the occupant was in immediate danger.

"I called the emergency services and did my best to get her out of the building.  I knew this tense situation may also put me in danger, but I knew I had to be proactive in getting both the occupant and other residents out of there as it was a life-threatening situation.”

Emily Johnson, temporary accommodation manager at City of York Council, added: “I can’t speak highly enough of the way Jamie managed the situation at James House. His courage, quick thinking, and decisive action for the safety and well-being of residents is truly inspiring.” 

Once the fire was was extinguished, and it was deemed safe, the residents were allowed back to their rooms. However, due to heavy fire damage, Room 4 was deemed unsafe, and the occupant was unable to return.

Richard Cuff, operations manager at Gough & Kelly said: “We were devastated to learn about the fire at James House, but Jamie’s bravery throughout the ordeal is commendable. 

Gazette & Herald: James House

“Jamie is responsible for general safety, access control, and welfare of the residents at James House. Thanks to his bravery and the emergency services, nobody was injured. He has always taken great pride in his work and is a highly valued member of the team.”

Management for James House has been fully briefed on the incident, and all necessary protocols have been followed. The fire alarm system has been restored, and further investigations are underway.

James House is a former office block that now contains 57 self-contained flats as part of a £12.4 million project for City of York Council.  It opened in 2020.