Fire fighters honoured for Rosehill Street heroics
For retained fire fighters in Gloucestershire, a call to save someone's life is always just a moment away.
But 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.
Two of their number, Iain Robertson and Adrian Knight, have 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."
Miraculously, Iain and his colleagues managed to get the pensioner out of the building with only minor injuries. She has now made a full recovery.
"Fortunately, we were able to locate the lady and I was among those who carried her out on a stretcher," he added.
"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 blast.
The quartet will travel to London tomorrow for a reception at Downing Street and an awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel run by the Fire Fighters Charity.