Two mountain-biking medics from the St John Ambulance have been hailed as heroes after helping to save two women from a raging inferno in Clapham on Sunday.

Andre Dubois, a medical student, and Natalie Perez, a legal secretary, were on their way to a community festival when they spotted smoke billowing out of Common Sense beauty salon in Clapham Common South Side.

Two women had clambered out onto the ledge of a first-floor window, while another two were on the roof at around 12.50pm.

The medics, who are part of the Cycle Response Unit, treated victims for smoke inhalation after firefighters rescued them with a turn-table ladder.

Ashley Sweetland, from St John Ambulance, said: "I am really proud of the part played in this dramatic rescue by two members of our team at this incident.

"Andre Dubois and Natalie Perez worked with London Fire Brigade colleagues on the ground to ensure everyone that needed our attention got it, before we handed over the casualties to our colleagues in the London Ambulance Service."

Six people were rescued in the blaze, while a further eight left before fire fighters arrived. Witness Mark Russell, 26, called 999 when he saw a woman calling for help from the back window of Common Sense in Clapham South Side.

He said: “We were next door having a barbecue when we saw a woman leaning out of her window with smoke billowing out. We called the fire brigade and ran around the front. There were windows exploding on the ground floor and two women standing on window ledges.

“Luckily the wind was blowing the smoke away from them, but it could have turned nasty.”

Ernie Wells, crew manager at Clapham fire station, and firefighter Andrea Simpson, kept the women calm while the equipment was set up.

One 70-year-old woman was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and five other women were treated at the scene.

The fire, which destroyed 75 per cent of the ground floor, was under control by 2.26pm.

Charlie Gilbert, watch manager at Brixton Hill fire station, said: “Lots of people were sunning themselves on the common and there was a lot of traffic. There was thick black smoke coming out of the ground floor.”

The cause of the fire, which ripped through the four-storey building at high speed, is still under investigation by London Fire Brigade.

Four fire engines from Brixton Hill, Clapham and West Norwood attended the scene with about 20 firefighters.

It is understood the premises did not have a fire alarm.

Just a week ago, Mr Dubois Ms Perezthey won the award for the "most strategic use of cycling in the 999 workplace" in the TfL Smarter Travel Awards.

Mr Russell, from New Zealand, photographed the scene during his holiday in London.