Members of the public who helped rescue a man from a serious flat fire have been awarded the fire service’s highest honour.
When a fire broke out at a flat on Carr Road, Deepcar, Sheffield on 22 December 2013, two members of the public Zoe Evans and Mathew Evans were driving past and noticed blackened windows and smoke issuing from the flat. The pair went to investigate and discovered the flat on fire with a man trapped inside and unable to find his keys to unlock the door.
Zoe quickly called 999 and alerted her stepfather Paul Bennett, who arrived moments later. Paul and Mathew were able to kick the door down and lead the man to safety before extinguishing the blaze with buckets of water.
Now all three members of the public have been awarded the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation – the highest fire service award for displaying outstanding bravery, quick thinking and placing their own safety at risk to carry out this life saving rescue. They were presented with their certificate at a formal ceremony in front of fire crews, family and friends at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Rivelin fire station in Sheffield.
Mathew Evans said; “We got out of the car and went to have a look, we knocked on the door and realised it was a lot worse than we thought. There was that much smoke we just thought we had to do something.”
Paul Bennett said; “We opened the kitchen window and saw the chap inside. We went round the back and kicked in the door. We just knew we had to get him out”.
Zoe Evans said; “I just remember seeing smoke and telling Mat there was a fire. I was scared for Mat and Paul – there was thick, black smoke. But I’m glad they did it and today has been brilliant.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mark Shaw, said: “Had it not been for the combined efforts of these three brave people, this fire could easily have resulted in a fatality.
“Our advice to the public in the event of a fire is to get out and stay out until we arrive on the scene. However, we recognise that in exceptional circumstances such as this one, acts of bravery are appropriate and should be recognised as such.”