Shropshire house fire drama on BBC Real Rescues

Shropshire mum Estelle Guest thanks the fire control operator and firefighters from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service who saved her and her two children from a house fire. The story is to be re-told on BBC Real Rescues tomorrow.

The story of how a 999 operator kept a panic stricken mother talking over the phone in a bid to calm her while a blaze trapped her and her two young children in their Shropshire home will be re-told on BBC Real Rescues tomorrow. (Tuesday)

The programme will be broadcast at 11.30am on Tuesday, March 19th and repeated on Wednesday at 7.05am on BBC2.

Fire control operator Sandra Davies, a Watch Manager with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service stayed on the line with mum Estelle Guest right up until fire crews arrived on the scene to battle the blaze in Bembridge, Brookside in September last year.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus scaled a ladder to a back bedroom window to rescue her children, aged just two and three, and then returned to save Estelle.
“I have been in the service for eight years and this was my second call from someone trapped in a fire. I could see through our mapping system that the fire crews were well on their way and I used my training to ensure Estelle remained calm. She did very well in a very stressful situation,” said Sandra.

“When I discovered the fire I remembered my fire training as a child and immediately turned off the gas. I went upstairs to get the children but the smoke took hold in the house and I knew I couldn’t take the children through that. I dialled 999 and went to a back bedroom and opened the window to wait for the firefighters,” said Estelle,whoe promised to only use a thermostatically controlled chip pan in the future.

Estelle said she remembered her training as an eleven year old when fire crews taught children what to do in a fire as part of Crucial Crew, a multi agency training event run by the fire service on behalf of Telford and Wrekin.

In 2011 Estelle also had a visit from firefighters who carried out a home fire safety visit introduced by the fire service a decade ago to raise awareness about the importance of being “fire safe.”

She had asked firefighters how to escape if a fire took hold in her home.

“Estelle was able to use the information she had received to help her escape when the fire broke out. This is a clear example of how valuable Crucial Crew training to eleven-year-olds is as it shows how important that information can be in the future,” said Community fire safety team leader Rabinder Dhami.

He praised Estelle for “doing everything right” during the ordeal and he urged others to ensure they always had an escape plan in case of fire.

Crew manager Mick Davidson who attended the scene also praised Estelle for her actions when the fire took hold.

“She did well. She called the fire brigade immediately, gathered the children together and took them to the back bedroom away from the fire and waited at an open window for help.”

The mother and both children were treated at the scene for the effects of breathing in smoke but none required hospital treatment.

The fire service spokesman said the incident highlighted the dangers of cooking late at night when tired.

18th March, 2013