TWO heroic firefighters have been honoured for their part in a remarkable rescue.
John Riley, of Apple Tree Way, Oswaldtwistle, and Gary Hamer, of Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors, received Chief Fire Officer’s commendations for bravery, courage and skill in a ceremony at Blackburn Fire Station last Friday.
They are among a team of nine who were rewarded for their actions in December 2006, when they were called to a bed and breakfast hotel on Bolton Road, Blackburn.
Dad-of-one John, 42, said: “We got the call at 2am but had no indication that there was anyone trapped in the building until we arrived.
“It was chaos at the time, smoke was bellowing out of the windows and people were screaming in the street saying that there were people trapped.
“Me and my breathing apparatus partner went in first and dragged someone out. When we got him outside, we heard another man was trapped in the room.
“The fire was so bad one guy jumped out of the window and broke his leg. That’s when the conditions started to deteriorate rapidly.
“We had to evacuate the building but managed to get in through another entrance and rescued a disabled man.
“It’s nice to be recognised. You take it for granted when you do it day in day out.
“It was the hardest and hottest rescue I have done in 22 years' service.”
As a result of the incident, seven people were rescued and three firefighters received hospital treatment – two for burns and a third for the effects of smoke inhalation.
Gary, 40, said: “I felt quite honoured. I didn’t do a lot on this particular job but the team acted very well.
“They were very brave and coped well under the stress.”
It was found that the hotel, which was subsequently the subject of a court case, had failed to keep a register of who was staying there.