TWO friends who risked their lives to rescue an HGV driver from a blaze say they would do it again “in a heartbeat”.

David Gower and Luke Jackson, both 20, were driving home from a night out when they spotted smoke coming from the lorry, which had been parked in a lay-by on the Upton Bypass.

After retracing their route, they discovered that the vehicle was on fire – and the driver was sound asleep inside the cab.

As the flames grew closer to the fuel tank, the men woke him up and moved him a safe distance away from the blaze.

David, who lives in Kinson Road, said: “I’m an HGV driver myself, and I’m sure someone would do the same for me.

“We were on our way home after a good night out on Friday night when we got towards it and Luke said, ‘That looks like it’s steaming’. I didn’t immediately think anything of it because drivers often use a heater to keep warm and I thought that, because it was cold outside, it was just condensation. But we got right alongside it, had a proper look and thought, ‘That’s not quite right’.”

After driving back around the roundabout, David and Luke realised the lorry was on fire.

“I saw a lick of flame and we realised we had to get the driver out,” David said. “He was really asleep, and we had to bang on his window before he woke up.”

The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical.

David said: “We were quite worried as the flames were getting close the fuel tank.

“As soon as we had him out, we moved quite a distance away just in case it exploded. But we’d help again in a heartbeat.”

The men have been praised by the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service for their act of bravery.

A spokesperson said: “The quick thinking and selflessness of the passers-by no doubt stopped this from being a more serious incident.”