Shropshire Fire and Rescue to be broadcast on BBC Real Rescues

Fire control operator Theresa Simmonds
27th May, 2011

The dramatic story of how Shropshire firefighters ran into a burning home to rescue a young woman trapped upstairs will be re-told on TV’s popular BBC Real Rescues programme.

Laura Smith (20) would not have survived if it was not for the bravery of two firefighters who battled to put out flames ahead of them jeopardising their safety as they raced upstairs through black and choking smoke in the middle of the night rescue at a Shrewsbury house.

Fire control operator Theresa Simmonds tells how Laura’s brother Sam (18) was talking to her after dialling 999 when he suddenly leapt from the top floor of the small terraced house to escape the fire landing on next door’s lawn – and how he calmly picked up his mobile and carried on the conversation despite suffering back and ankle injuries.

Presenters Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin follow the dramatic day-to-day work of the emergency services in BBC real Rescues which broadcasts the Shrewsbury house fire rescue at 11am on Monday, June 6.

Firefighters John Bee and Richard Brazier, who saved Laura’s life, later received the Chief Fire Officer’s commendation for their speedy and courageous actions on the night of July 9 last year.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond with firefighters John Bee and Richard Glazier and their awards

Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond with firefighters John Bee (left) and Richard Brazier (right) and their awards.

Firefighters on White Watch broke down the front door of the house in Severn Terrace where a “ferocious” fire poured out of the front room and windows above. Wearing breathing apparatus, the firefighters were faced with blazing furniture, the kitchen well alight and flames engulfing staircase spindles and a banister rail leading to the upstairs where three householders were initially believed to be trapped.

“There was choking black smoke throughout. We were initially told that three people were trapped. Through the front door we saw that most things were on fire. The stair spindles had burned through, the sofa was on fire and a TV was well alight,” said Richard, who revealed it was the most dramatic rescue of his 18 year firefighting career.

Using a hose reel jet, the pair quickly battled through the flames in the living room while heading for the burning staircase which they put out as they raced upstairs in the two storey terraced house in Severn Terrace, Smithfield Road.

“Our main priority was to get upstairs. Visibility was very poor and there was choking black smoke throughout. We made haste and got to the first floor landing and we both shouted hello and amazingly Laura replied very calmly: “Hello I’m in here.”

Firefighters praised Laura for her calmness throughout the rescue.

“She had opened the window for fresh air and used the duvet to stop smoke getting into the bedroom. She grabbed me and I carried her downstairs while John protected us with the hose just as the sofa re-ignited in the front room.”

Once the young woman was safe, the firefighters went back into the property along with more colleagues to search the second floor of the property where Laura’s brother was believed to be trapped but who had managed to jump out of a window.

Laura Smith was rescued from the first floor bedroom of the blackened and charred building.

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