Heroes of Rosehill Street singled out for honour
FOR retained fire fighters in the county, a call to save someone's life is always just a moment away.
That comes with the territory for the volunteer heroes, who give up their spare time to be on call in case of fires, serious road accidents and other emergencies.
But Iain Robertson and Adrian Knight, have now been shortlisted for Firefighter of the Year at the Spirit of Fire Awards, which take place in London today.
The recognition comes after the pair, who are based in Winchcombe, played a crucial role in rescuing 84-year-old Betty Hodgkiss after a gas explosion tore through her home in Rosehill Street.
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Father-of-one Iain recalled the wreckage when they arrived at the scene of the accident on May 10.
The 52-year-old said: "We were the first to arrive at the house following the explosion.
"There were significant toxic fumes and we were obviously not sure the structure of the building was safe, or the buildings on either side.
"But you don't think about the danger – you just get in there and do the job.
"Fortunately, we were able to locate the lady and I was among those who carried her out on a stretcher.
"It was a fantastic outcome because, on arrival when we looked at the scale of the damage, there was no way we thought anyone could have survived it."
Iain, who runs a letting agency in Winchcombe, has to be available for 120 hours a week in his role as a retained fire fighter, providing emergency cover for his full time colleagues.
He carries a beeper with him at all times, springing into action whenever it sounds.
He has been nominated for the prestigious award, along with fellow volunteer Adrian and full time fire fighters Andy Rood and Kate Grundy, who also played a crucial role in the aftermath of the Rosehill Street blast.
"Obviously it's nice to get some recognition for what we do and it would be great to win the award," added Iain.
"But the Rosehill Street job was a real team effort. We happened to be the first on the scene, but we had great support from the rest of the fire service and the ambulance crews too."
The quartet will travel to London today for a reception at Downing Street and an awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.
Organisers of the event, from the Fire Fighters Charity, described what the stalwarts' efforts in Rosehill Street as "remarkable".
"A successful rescue was effected despite working in the presence of leaking gas and an unstable adjacent property bearing down upon them," said a spokesman.