Police and fire officers to be honoured for saving people trapped in burning Bideford Hotel
By tinap | Monday, October 22, 2012, 12:35
Firefighters and police officers who saved the lives of people who had become trapped by a raging fire at a Bideford hotel are to be recognised for their bravery in a special ceremony Tuesday 23 October at Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton.
Police and fire officers saved 55 people from the blaze at the Tantons in Bideford
All 55 residents of the Tantons Hotel, New Road, Bideford, were saved from the fire in the early hours of 31 May 2011.
Crews from Bideford and Appledore fire stations, and three police officers from the nearby police station, who were the first to respond to the scene, are to receive Chief Fire Officer Commendations for their actions.
Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: "Each crew member upheld the best traditions of the Fire and Rescue Service and deserve recognition for their part in dealing with an extremely challenging incident.
"And there is no doubt that the selfless and courageous actions of the police officers helped save lives that otherwise would have been lost."
On arrival, the crews were confronted by a severe fire within the top floor of the four-floor hotel and a number of residents were trapped on a second floor roof by flames and thick smoke.
Crews used ladders to rescue the residents before firefighters in breathing apparatus entered the building and worked their way to the top floor through extreme heat and heavy smoke to aid the escape of a number of elderly residents.
The police officers had heard screams for help from the nearby police station and after running to investigate, entered the building to start the evacuation and attempt rescues.
Despite being confronted by thick black smoke and obvious risk to their lives, the officers systematically evacuated the hotel and stopped a man from falling through a fire damaged floor.
The recipients will receive their commendations at a ceremony on Tuesday 23 October at Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton.
The police officers were Sergeant Paul Vincent, PC Tim Cramp and WPC Sarah Conybeer.
The firefighters were: Chris Boden, Kathryn Deighton, Neil Hole, Shane Martin, Alan Pearce, Rebecca Pridham, Matt Shortridge, David Slade, Robert Slade, Chris Smailes and Gary Wreford (all from Bideford); and Tony Cole, Simon Fiddy, Raymond Rose, Richard Stokes, Danny Thomlinson and Nick Williams (from Appledore).
At the ceremony, the following staff from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service will receive Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medals:
• Watch Manager Ainsley Bird, Bridgwater
• Crew Manager Stefan Belsten, Torquay
• Firefighter Kevin Bowden, Wellington
• Firefighter Simon Carpenter, Frome
• Carolyn Hodge, Taunton
• Crew Manager Mark Ludgate, Crediton
• Firefighter Leigh Redman, Bridgwater
• Crew Manager Paul Retter, Ilminster
• Firefighter Mark Rollo, Yeovil
• Station Manager Danny Slay, seconded to the CFOA National Resilience Team
A Chief Fire Officer Recognition Award will be presented to Station 60 Special Operations, for their attendance at many significant incidents across the UK as part of a national response.
Chief Fire Officer Letter of Commendations will be presented to:
• Dave Church, based at Service Headquarters, Exeter, for enabling the Service to more effectively target its community safety activity by using evidential techniques.
• Firefighter Toby Hanks, Camels Head Fire Station, Plymouth, for achieving the best overall results nationally in the Institution of Fire Engineers Level 3 Diploma in Fire Science Engineering.