Fire crews praised for bravery in rescue bid

The Blue watch at North Tyneside South (Wallsend) and East (Tynemouth) have received a 'Brave and Meritorious Conduct' award after rescuing a person in a house fire.
The Blue watch at North Tyneside South (Wallsend) and East (Tynemouth) have received a 'Brave and Meritorious Conduct' award after rescuing a person in a house fire.

FIREFIGHTERS have been commended for their bravery while trying to save an elderly woman’s life.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority chairman Bob Heron presented the gold awards for brave and meritorious conduct to watch managers Don Miller and Dave Rowley on behalf of their crews at a ceremony held in Washington.

The awards follow the firefighters’ efforts to save a 91-year-old woman trapped in her first-floor flat in Tynemouth by a fire in February.

The only staircase leading to the flat was ablaze and impassable, but crews from Tynemouth and Wallsend fire stations used a ladder to get into it via a first-floor window before searching for, and finding, the trapped woman.

She was then taken by ambulance to North Tyneside General Hospital, but sadly died from her injuries the following day after being transferred to the intensive care unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Watch manager Don Miller, 47, of Winlaton, said: “I can’t praise the crews involved highly enough for their actions and professionalism in bringing what was a very challenging and demanding incident to a safe and speedy conclusion.”

Coun Heron added: “Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue staff always show their bravery, professionalism and dedication when they are on duty, but these two crews displayed enormous courage, entering what was a fierce fire in very dangerous conditions.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for their superb efforts and repeat our condolences to the family and friends of the lady who sadly died following this tragic incident.”