‘Heroic’ fire crew get award

'HEROIC ACTIONS': Members of the Spalding fire crew receive their commendations from Chief Fire Officer Nick Borrill (centre).  Photo supplied by Lincolnshire County Council.
'HEROIC ACTIONS': Members of the Spalding fire crew receive their commendations from Chief Fire Officer Nick Borrill (centre). Photo supplied by Lincolnshire County Council.
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Spalding firefighters who were attacked and threatened with an air pistol while trying to rescue a woman from a house fire have been recognised for their “heroic actions”.

A crew from Spalding Fire Station was confronted by two brothers “obviously under the influence of drugs” when they were called to a fire on Holyrood Walk, Spalding, on April 10.

For the incident commander and crew to be confronted at the site by someone who was trying to stop them doing their job, anyone would struggle to understand why that would happen

Sean Taylor, divisional commander for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue

One firefighter was punched and another grabbed around the throat by Jason Dodd (23), of Holyrood Walk, who was jailed for 16 months in July after admitting affray and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Dodd’s brother Simon Harrison (23), of the same address, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour and was handed an 18-month community order.

Sean Taylor, divisional commander for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “As fire crews attend incidents throughout the county, they find that house fires are always particularly arduous because they spread very quickly.

“Therefore, they have to take very quick action to carry out any rescues of casualties.

“Firefighters are there to save lives, but what was exceptionally challenging in this Spalding case was the fact that the crew was faced with a substantial fire and they had identified that someone was inside the house.

“For the incident commander and crew to be confronted at the site by someone who was trying to stop them doing their job, anyone would struggle to understand why that would happen.

“It was a really exceptional and unusual circumstance that in my 28 years of being a firefighter, I’ve only seen very rarely in cases.”

The fire crew involved were each presented with commendations during a ceremony attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Toby Dennis, and Chief Fire Officer Nick Borrill.

The commendations said: “The crew members were honoured for their heroic actions at a serious house fire during which they not only had to deal with the fire, but also some aggressive and obstructive behaviour by an individual at the scene.”

During the hearing at Lincoln Crown Court, sentencing judge Recorder Paul Mann QC was told that neighbours eventually overpowered Dodd, allowing the fire crew to rescue his mother from the house.

Mr Taylor said: “The local community should be exceptionally proud of the crew from Spalding who worked particularly hard in trying to save lives and diffuse the situation (with Dodd and Harrison) as much as they possibly could, whilst trying to remain focused on carrying out any rescues.”

The firefighters from Spalding were honoured in front of family, friends and colleagues as part of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s annual recognition of dedication and long service.

Mr Taylor said: “So it was nice to be able to speak to the crew members’ partners and parents to offer them reasurance as they would have been concerned for what had happened.”

Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for fire and rescue at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The achievements of these particular individuals goes to highlight the work of the whole of the fire and rescue service in not only protecting the public day to day but also going above and beyond what is expected in challenging conditions.

“The situations are those which we ourselves may hope never to see, but that firefighters prepare, train for and experience first-hand so I personally extend my thanks to each and every one of them.”

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