Rosehill Street explosion firefighters recognised by Gloucestershire leaders
FIRE heroes, who rescued an elderly woman following a gas explosion in Cheltenham, have been commended for their bravery.
Gloucestershire firefighters Adrian Knight, Iain Robertson and Kate Grundy and crew commander Andy Rood were given a special commendation in recognition of their courage, bravery and resolution.
All four played a vital role in rescuing 84-year-old Betty Hodgkiss after a gas explosion ripped through her home in Rosehill Street, Cheltenham, on May 10 last year.
The building was reduced to rubble by the blast and there was no way of knowing how structurally sound the neighbouring properties were or if the gas cloud would cause a secondary explosion.
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But, despite this, all four played a crucial role in locating Mrs Hodgkiss and taking her to safety.
Group Commander Tally Giampa said: “We are massively relieved that none of our firefighters were injured and that Betty was rescued safely.
“This incident highlights the dangers firefighters face in the course of their jobs and their bravery and determination to save lives whatever the risks.”
The commendation was received in front of colleagues at the fire and rescue service's inaugural Inspire Celebration of Achievement Awards.
The awards, which were presented at Gloucester South fire station, also recognised people in the community who have shown great courage or worked tirelessly alongside Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, while staff were honoured with long-service and good conduct medals.
Among those in the community to receive awards, Glyn Jones and his daughter Ellie, from Stroud, were recognised for pulling a man from his crashed car on the B4226 seconds before it exploded.
Jan Wildman, from Hucclecote, who has campaigned to improve road safety following the death of her 13-year-old daughter Cassie in a road collision just a few hundred metres from the family home, was also awarded.
Jan is founding member of Gloucestershire charity Time and Place and has led local projects to change drivers’ attitudes to speeding, drink driving, wearing seatbelts and using mobile phones.
School Crossing Patrol wardens Elizabeth Ealand and Sylvia Sterry were presented with an award for dedicated service. Mrs Ealand has given 38 years of service to her crossing near Tewkesbury Primary School for 38 years while Mrs Sterry gave 28 years service at her crossing, near Longlevens Infant School.
Awards were presented by dignitaries including Lord Lieutenant for Gloucestershire Dame Janet Trotter, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, and chair of the county council Councillor Tony Hicks.
Mr Windsor-Clive said: “I am so proud of each and everyone here who has gone that extra mile to make a difference in their community.
“This has been a fantastic chance to tell those people who have shown such dedication and commitment that their efforts are appreciated and I hope we recognise our county heroes in this way for many years to come.”
Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall said: “Everyone in this room has inspired heroism and excellence.
“We are incredibly proud of everything achieved in this community and these awards are to recognise the fact that so many of you have given your time and energy for others’ benefit without seeking reward.”