Quick-thinking firefighters park engine under Northamptonshire motorway bridge to save distressed woman

Northampton crews get commendations from Chief Fire Officer at annual awards

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 15th November 2021, 3:10 pm

Two teams of Northampton firefighters who helped save the lives of two distressed women were among those given commendations for their incredible work at the county Fire and Rescue Service awards ceremony.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey presented five commendations where the actions of individuals or teams led directly to the saving of a life or delivered an outstanding service to the public under extreme pressure.

Among them were Red Watch at The Mounts — Ian Grant, Aaron Childs, Ben Muddle and Chris Evans — who parked their appliance under a motorway bridge to stop a woman falling on to the carriageway below.

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The Mounts Red Watch collect their award from Darren Dovey (right)

And White Watch from Mereway also came to the aid of a distressed woman after spotting her alongside speeding traffic on the A45 while returning from another incident.

The crew — Natasha Dorrill, Steven Pateman, James Woodfield and David Ingham— turned round, allowing firefighter Dorrill to build a rapport with the woman and help to keep her calm until she could be taken to safety.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “The last 20 months or so have been tough for all of us and it makes the fact that we are able to bring people together for the first time in two years extra special.

“While the pandemic has been difficult, it has also shown the best of what the Fire Service can do in a crisis. Unlike many other occupations, firefighters and many other frontline staff could not work from home and as such continued to come into work and serve the public.

Firefighters from White Watch at Mereway

“The Fire Service continues to be held in high regard by the community and this is due, in no small part, to the efforts of the people who have been commended. Their unselfish commitment to the safety of our community is worthy of being recognised and we are extremely proud of them.”

A second Mereway crew, Blue Watch — Aidy Donald and firefighters Christian Martin, Benjamin Jordan and Harry Osborne —, received a commendation for the dignified way in which they dealt with the tricky operation of removing the body of a man in July who had sadly died on the fourth floor of a Northampton building.

Individual commendations went to Joanne Garner, who works in the Daventry control centre fielding 999 calls — for the way she managed a particularly distressing call from a person witnessing a serious fire back in February — and also to Shaun Johnson who recently retired after 47 years service with Northamptonshire Police.

Mr Johnson's time also included a role in the county's Arson Task Force, playing a pivotal role in protecting those at risk from threats of arson relating to domestic abuse, hate crimes and honour-based violence.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, who helped to present some of the long service awards, added: “Being able to recognise people who go above and beyond is one of the best things I get to do as the Commissioner.

“It is important to me that we value the contribution that everyone makes to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and the safety of people in this county, whatever their role.”