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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Quick-thinking neighbour receives CFO's commendation

24/11/2016

A quick-thinking resident of Longton has been commended by the Chief Fire Officer for her potentially life-saving actions.

"The incident itself came as quite a shock on a peaceful afternoon when my husband and I were sitting in the garden. All of a sudden we heard the smoke alarms going off over the road so we went to investigate and saw our elderly neighbour going in and out of his bungalow which had smoke pouring out of the door. I raced over there, led him out of the property and got him a chair to sit on as he was quite distressed. Luckily, after the initial upset he was ok. I am so pleased that I as there at the time and was able to help him."

Quick-thinking neighbour Maureen Clarke

Maureen Clarke, of Walpole Street, was alerted to a blaze at her 87-year-old neighbour’s home after hearing the smoke alarms activating.

She went outside to check up on the pensioner and spotted him trying to re-enter his property despite it being filled with smoke.

Brave Mrs Clarke acted quickly - following him into the house and then leading him back outside to safety.

The man was treated for smoke inhalation but if it was not for Mrs Clarke’s timely intervention, the situation could have been far more serious.

Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant presented the commendation certificate to Mrs Clarke, who was joined by her family, at Longton Community Fire Station.

Becci said: "Mrs Clarke showed a great deal of courage by going into the smoke-filled property and ensuring that her neighbour was led to safety so that he did not suffer any serious harm. Although we actively discourage people from entering or returning to buildings that are on fire as this can result in them suffering serious injuries or worse, there is no doubt that Mrs Clarke’s intervention prevented the outcome of this situation being far more serious.

"We always encourage people to look out for older or vulnerable neighbours and this is a prime example of the difference it can make if you take the time to do so. If you hear a smoke alarm activating, don’t assume that it is nothing serious. It is best to be safe than sorry and to call 999 if you suspect that something is amiss. As in this case, your actions could potentially save the life of a vulnerable member of our community."

Mrs Clarke added: "I was absolutely delighted when I heard that I was going to receive a commendation from the Chief Fire Officer, it is a real honour and my family thinks it is wonderful.

"The incident itself came as quite a shock on a peaceful afternoon when my husband and I were sitting in the garden. All of a sudden we heard the smoke alarms going off over the road so we went to investigate and saw our elderly neighbour going in and out of his bungalow which had smoke pouring out of the door. I raced over there, led him out of the property and got him a chair to sit on as he was quite distressed. Luckily, after the initial upset he was ok. I am so pleased that I as there at the time and was able to help him."

Appliances from Longton and Hanley attended the incident on April 13 of this year. It had been caused by a chip pan and was classed as accidental.