Fire crews honoured for Barnoldswick rescue

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FIREFIGHTERS from Colne have been praised alongside crews from Barnoldswick and Earby for their part in rescuing a couple from a house fire last month.

The crews, who are all retained firefighters and dedicate time to the service on top of other careers and commitments, were commended at a special ceremony for their “prompt actions and highly professional manner at a dynamic and challenging incident”.

In the early hours of November 4th, a fire broke out at the home of John and Tina Botterill, a couple in their 60s, in Walmsgate, Barnoldswick. It was caused by a defective fridge freezer and quickly filled the house with a dense black smoke.

With no smoke alarms in the house, Tina luckily awoke to the sound of the fire downstairs and the couple were able to use a mobile phone to call 999 and escape through a small second-floor window on to the roof of an extension. After they had been discharged from Airedale Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation, Tina praised the fire and ambulance crews for getting to the house so quickly and saving them.

During the ceremony at Barnoldswick Fire Station, Group Manager Jerry Cragg said: “The people of Lancashire expect their firefighters to attend house fires and, when required, take risks to rescue people.

“It can be argued that the crews who attended were only doing what was expected of them, but the prompt actions of retained personnel at this incident gave the very best chance of survival and full recovery to the two occupants rescued from the roof.

“The casualties rescued were admitted to hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation and have since made a full recovery. Fire damage was contained to the kitchen area and the severest smoke damage restricted to the ground floor of the property. My overall impression of the performance of the crews at this incident is of a team who performed in a highly professional manner at a dynamic and challenging incident. Given this, it is a pleasure to recognise the performance of those retained units from Colne, Barnoldswick and Earby involved.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “This fire was a very close call and a working smoke detector would have given the necessary early warning to have enabled the casualties to leave the building in safety. Better still would have been to take up the offer of a free Home Fire Safety Check visit from us.

“On our visit we don’t just fit free 10-year life smoke detectors, we provide a comprehensive package of fire safety advice to prevent fire and stay safe. The service is entirely free of charge.”

To book a visit call 0800 169 1125 or visit