Firefighters and members of public recognised for saving man’s life

Two crews of firefighters and two members of the public have been recognised with the fire service’s top commendation for saving the life of a pedestrian crushed by a car.

In July this year Nick Matthewson, 62, was walking on a footpath in Newcastle when he was hit by a car and pinned against a wall.

He was seriously injured and his leg was left crushed between the vehicle and a wall at the junction of Pilgrim Street and High Bridge.

Nick was out with his friends of over 30 years, retired firefighter Tommy Vaughan and pal Keith Allan, when the incident unfolded.

They called for help and kept their friend calm before two crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) arrived in a matter of minutes.

Together they were able to apply an emergency tourniquet to Nick’s leg to halt the catastrophic bleeding before paramedics arrived and transported him to hospital.

The quick intervention of Mr Vaughan, Mr Allan and the fire crews from Byker Community Fire Station and Newcastle Central Community Fire Station proved crucial in saving his life.

On Monday (December 12th) those involved were invited to TWFRS Headquarters and handed a Meritorious Conduct Award from the Fire Authority, the highest commendation the Service can offer.

It was presented before the meeting of the Authority by Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther and the Chairperson of the Authority, Cllr Phil Tye.

Nick, of Deckham in Gateshead, was present to see them receive the award and has again thanked them for their intervention.

He said “It was just a regular Saturday night for us, the car just came out of nowhere into our group on the pavement and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I want to thank the firefighters, the paramedics and doctors, and members of the public for helping that night.

“It was a real team effort to help me and who knows what would have happened if it wasn’t.”

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said “This was a very serious collision and, if not for the intervention of those receiving this award today, Nick may not have survived.

“Saving lives is part of what being a firefighter is all about but it still requires those responders to stay calm under pressure to do what needs to be done.

“Those who attended that scene, including those members of the public, did just that. They relied on their training, their expertise and worked quickly when time was of the essence.

“I have spoken personally Nick and know just how grateful he is to these men for saving his life.

“To be able to recognise the exceptional actions of these men fills me with pride and I hope it reassures our community here in Tyne and Wear that you are in safe hands.”

Cllr Tye added: “As Chair of the Fire Authority I have had the honour and privilege of meeting many of the staff who come to work every day to keep the public safe.

“I have heard countless stories of lives being saved because of the intervention of firefighters, or other members of the Service. This is yet another example of that.

“The crews involved in this incident showed a huge amount of courage and recognising that with a meritorious conduct award is just a small token of our appreciation.

“But I also want to say a special thank you to those members of the public who did not hesitate to intervene. Their early actions helped to save Nick’s life.”

The serving firefighters recognised alongside Mr Vaughan and Mr Allan included Watch Manager Scott Hardy and firefighters Shannon Borg, Michael Walker and Paul Gregson of Byker Community Fire Station.

Those firefighter recognised from Newcastle Central Community Fire Station included Crew Manager Karl Bewick and firefighters Mark Cleminson, Daniel Cave and Tomass Olenberg.