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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Tamworth firefighters commended for bravery

25/10/2017

Pictured L-R Watch Manager Richard Walsh, Firefighters James Fisher, Martin Bailey, Watch Manager Paul Goodman, Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant, Firefighters Arturs Grotans, Steve Flint, Crew Manager Darren Twist and Firefighter Patrick Cawkwell
Pictured L-R Watch Manager Richard Walsh, Firefighters James Fisher, Martin Bailey, Watch Manager Paul Goodman, Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant, Firefighters Arturs Grotans, Steve Flint, Crew Manager Darren Twist and Firefighter Patrick Cawkwell

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have recognised eight Tamworth firefighters for their bravery at a serious incident.

“These commendations recognise the firefighter's incredible bravery and professionalism which was clearly displayed during this extremely difficult incident.”

Eastern Service Delivery Group Manager Toby Wilson

Watch Managers Richard Walsh and Paul Goodman, Crew Managers Darren Twist and Arturs Grotans, and firefighters Wayne Puffett, Steve Flint, James Fisher, Martin Bailey, Patrick Cawkwell were awarded their commendations during a ceremony at Tamworth Mercia Community Fire Station last night, October 24.

They were the first crews to arrive at a fire at Standon House care home in Ashby Road, Tamworth, when the Service was called at around 10.45pm on April 15. Additional appliances attended from Stone, Penkridge, Tutbury, Codsall, Cannock, Lichfield, Chase Terrace and the aerial ladder platform from Burton-upon-Trent was also used.

Crews worked with staff, police officers and colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service to safely evacuate 25 elderly residents from the building. Seven residents suffered smoke inhalation and needed hospital treatment.

Firefighters wore numerous breathing apparatus and used hose reel jets to tackle the blaze which was within a ground floor roof space of the care home. After it was extinguished fire investigators carried out a thorough and detailed examination of the scene. They found that the fire started accidentally and was caused by a discarded cigarette in an external smoking shelter. The cigarette had not been fully extinguished and caused nearby plants and woodwork to catch fire, causing the fire to spread into the roof space.

Eastern Service Delivery Group Manager Toby Wilson said: “On arrival firefighters immediately took action, working in extremely challenging circumstances. The fire was developing rapidly and they displayed admirable professionalism in a high pressure environment which was intensified by a ruptured gas main.

“Many of the residents had mobility issues, leaving them trapped in their rooms and distressed in an active fire and smoke filled environment. As the first crews to arrive the Tamworth firefighters faced an incredibly difficult situation with residents in various parts of the building. The immediate and absolute necessity to save multiple lives meant they had to make some really tough decisions in a very short space of time. They worked tirelessly alongside care home staff and partners to physically carry many of the 25 elderly residents to safety.

“These commendations recognise the firefighter’s incredible bravery and professionalism which was clearly displayed during this extremely difficult incident.”