BBC Real Rescues to feature Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

12th July, 2010

The story of how a Shrewsbury fire control operator kept a trapped householder calm as she waited for fire crews to arrive at her smoke logged Shropshire home will be re-told on BBC TV on July 13.

BBC Real Rescues went back to interview the people involved in the dramatic rescue which happened last year. The programme recreating the scene will be broadcast at 11am on Tuesday, July 13.

Oswestry businesswoman Eirwen Day (44) dialled 999 on that fateful day after seeing smoke pouring up the staircase of her home just after 2pm. She couldn’t get downstairs and retreated into a bedroom of the semi detached house in Station Road, Whittington, where she called for help.

Watch manager Ian Titley took her call at 2.14pm and kept her calm and talking on the line while control room colleagues swung into action to get fire and ambulance crews to the scene as quickly as possible.

“The lady was quite calm. She was coughing a lot because she had a bad chest. She did exactly the right thing to stay where she was,” said Ian, a control room operator for 24 years.

“I kept talking to her and found out details of the house layout for the firefighters and I kept her informed of their progress from our mapping system. I had told her to shut the bedroom door, stay where she was and put something under the door and move to the window.

“I kept talking to her until a firefighter climbed up the ladder to her.

“It was a team effort. We do train for these incidents but it is the first time I have had to put it into operation during my career but I am very pleased to say our training paid off.”

Fire Officer Andy Johnson, was in the control room when the call came through.

“I have to say I am very proud to be a member of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. The professionalism from everyone from taking the initial call and mobilising resources was superb.

“Ian made sure the lady was safe during the phone call while fire crews were on their way.”

Eirwen’s husband Paul, who runs an upholstery business with his wife, said the fire started after a teddy bear he bought her for their anniversary fell into a gas fire.

“The fire crews were fantastic. I have nothing but praise and admiration for their speed and professionalism in the way they dealt with it.”