Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for Newcastle and Gateshead firefighters and Control team following fire in four homes

The successful rescue of nine people, including a baby, a toddler and child has led to Blue Watch firefighters from Newcastle Central and Gateshead Fire Stations, along with Blue Watch Control receiving a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation.

On 26th June 2018, crews were faced with a fully developed fire in a walkway under a block of flats at Oak Square in Gateshead. Fire was spreading to the doors and hallways of four flats, with screams and shouts coming from the properties. Whilst crews from Swalwell, Byker, Gosforth and West Denton dealt with the fire, crews from Newcastle Central and Gateshead Fire Stations used a ladder and breaking equipment to rescue those trapped. This included:

  • A man and a women rescued through a window on the ground floor.
  • A man, woman and child rescued using a ladder to a first floor flat.
  • A man, woman, young child and a baby rescued using a ladder from a first floor flat.

At the same time, the Blue Watch Control team was providing fire survival guidance to two families living in the flats, keeping them calm and reassured.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Alan Robson, who presented the crews with their commendation, commented:

“Our firefighters face life and death situations every day. But fires like this one are particularly challenging, with fires across multiple properties. And in this case natural escape routes – such as front doors and hallways – were where the fires were at their worst. The crews did a fantastic job in getting everyone out safely, demonstrating their professionalism and skills to ensure a safe rescue.

Our Blue Watch Control team supported them throughout. As well as providing life preserving advice and guidance to those requiring rescue to ensure that they stayed safe until our firefighters could get them out.

All in all a brilliant team effort – showcasing the best of our Service.”

The Newcastle Central firefighters commended are:

  • Watch Manager Lee Denny
  • Firefighter Mark Boxall
  • Crew Manager Scott Holland
  • Alan Day (now with Scotland FRS)

The Gateshead firefighters commended are:

  • Crew Manager Aiden Crawley
  • Firefighter Angus Beardsmore
  • Firefighter James Turnbull
  • Firefighter Neil Borsberry

Blue Watch Control Team (who will receive their commendation early in the New Year) are: Watch Manager Bev Shorting and Firefighters Angela Foster, Dan Grist and Cara Jeffrey.

Three people were arrested as part of a police investigation into the fire but to date nobody has been charged.