Award for Firefighting Neighbour

Left to right: Shropshire's Chief Fire officer Alan Taylor, Telford Leading Firefighter Drew Perkins, good neighbour Shyam Vadukul, father Girish and mother Ansuya with Fire Authority chairman Dave Morgan

Everyone needs good neighbours and the Morris family from Telford certainly appreciate theirs.

For next door neighbour, 20-year-old Shyam Vadukul, saved their family home from severe damage when fire broke out in the kitchen after the grill was accidentally left on by their teenage son.

Alerted by the 14-year-old, quick thinking Shyam ran next door, hurriedly switched off the mains, covered the flame filled grill with a damp tea towel and opened the windows to let out the black, choking smoke.

He then closed all the doors inside the house in Damson Drive, The Rock, to prevent smoke or further flames from spreading and waited safely outside for the fire brigade to arrive.

His actions were today praised by Shropshire's Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor who said: "He did everything right. Shyam remained extremely calm under very difficult circumstances and prevented what could have been a severe house fire."

Shyam received the Chief Fire Officer's commendation "in recognition of his courageous actions" which greatly reduced the damage and loss from fire to his neighbour's property.

Leading Telford firefighter Drew Perkins who was on duty on the day of the fire said: "Young people don't always get a good Press but Shyam is a shining example. He was faced with a very difficult situation and reacted in a remarkably cool way to prevent what could have been a disastrous fire."

4th January, 2006