A Croxley Green pop singer was the hero of a dramatic bid to save the life of a man trapped inside a blazing bookmaker’s shop in Central London on Monday.

Jakko Jakszyk, who lives in Durrants Drive, used a crowbar to smash the glass door of William Hill’s in Kensington Church Street. Helped by a passer by, he then dragged the man to safey before the building was wrecked by an explosion.

The unidentified victim was taken to Charing Cross Hospital  where his condition is said to be satisfactory. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Jakko said: “I was coming out of a hairdresser’s when I saw a crowd of people outside the betting shop. I wondered what was going on and then I saw thick black smoke billowing out of the building.

“I could see someone banging on the door. It was really thick glass so I ran into the shop next door for something heavy to smash it with. I got a crowbar but at first it wouldn’t work.

“I took a couple of steps back and threw it at the glass. Another man had come along by then and we managed to drag the man out.”

Minutes after the rescue, an explosion ripped out the front of the shop but by then, Jakko was a safe distance from the building, having treatment for glass cuts to his hand.

Jakko is keeping his fingers crossed that the injuries to his hand will not delay work on his first LP for Stiff Records. He already has a single, Who’s Fooling Who, which is being played regularly on the radio.

[From the Watford Observer of April 13, 1984]

NOSTALGIA NOTE: Michael Jakszyk, commonly known by his nickname of Jakko, is currently lead singer and second guitarist in King Crimson. The Stiff Records album mentioned was shelved when the label filed for bankruptcy in 1985.