Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Ex-offenders honoured for saving eight people from blaze
8:19am Tuesday 26th June 2012 in Local News
SIX young men have been awarded for their bravery after saving eight people, including a newborn baby, from a blaze in Southend.
Carl Gilbert, Jamie Newman, Christopher Halpin, Phillip Hawkes, Darren Hills and Dean Bryant spotted the fire at the flats in Hastings Road and ran to help.
The men, who all live at the Rosemead Project, a hostel which helps ex-offenders get back into employment, leapt into action when they saw flames coming from the house containing four flats.
Carl, 20, shouted to the others and desperately tried to wake the occupants of the house, before kicking the door down. He tried to get in, but was beaten back by flames, which had engulfed the hallway.
Eventually, they managed to smash a window to help a man out.
Jamie, 22, bravely helped rescue six people, including the baby, by putting a ladder up to the first-floor window.
Within minutes of their escape, the staircase was alight.
Carl said at the time: “It was a little bit scary.
“But I wasn’t really worried about the fire. I was more worried about the people.
“It was adrenaline going more than anything.”
Mark Earwicker, Essex Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant divisional officer, investigated the blaze and nominated the lads for the chief fire officer’s commendation.
He said: “I felt the young men did more than was expected of someone. They put themselves out to help others.
“There is no doubt in my mind that without the actions of these corageous young people, the outcome for the eight casualties of the blaze could have been much worse. As it is they lost their homes, but they could so easily have lost their lives.”
Ruth Purchese, from the Rosemead Project, added: “Many people have a negative view of ex-offenders, but these men are working hard to learn from their past and make something of their lives. The bravery they showed in putting other people before themselves demonstrates they are well on their way to achieving that.”
Comments are closed on this article.