Norfolk paramedics praised for bravery in face of flat fire

Jonathan Poole (left) and Doug Bishop who showed bravery in the face of fire in the flat in Hunstanton

Two EEAST paramedics in Norfolk went above and beyond the call of duty by tackling a fire in a top-floor flat before evacuating the building.

Doug Bishop and Jonathan Poole were the first emergency service at the flats on Hunstanton High Street shortly after 2pm on Thursday 9th July and found the couple who had reported the fire at the bottom of the four-storey building.

Hearing the fire was still ablaze and residents in neighbouring flats were still in the building, Doug and Jonathan made a judgment call not to wait for fire service colleagues and raced up the stairwell to the flat, picking up fire extinguishers on the way.

Finding the kitchen ablaze and the flat full of smoke, the pair discharged the extinguishers before closing the doors to the kitchen and the front door to help contain the fire. They then helped three residents out of the building, including an older man on the second floor who was unable to manage the stairs.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, Doug and Jonathan showed them where the fire was before returning to treat the patients and make sure they were safe to return to their flats. The fire was quickly extinguished, and all residents were left unscathed.

As the older man was unable to exit the building without help, the pair also liaised with his carer and social services to see if more suitable accommodation could be found longer term based on his mobility. 

Doug said: “We were at a residential home doing observations on residents as part our care home project when we received the call about the fire and rushed to the scene where we find the couple who reported the fire.

“Our first instincts were the safety of the residents inside the building and we made the call that we would tackle the fire and help evacuate the building if it was safe to do so. We were pleased we were able to do so and everyone was left unscathed.  

Paul Collins, a leading operations manager in west Norfolk, said: “Doug and Jonathan are fully deserving of praise for their bravery and the initiative they showed.

“Firstly, they made the right judgement call that it was safe to enter the building instead of waiting for the Fire Service to tackle the fire and evacuate the building to make sure the residents were safe. And, secondly, they then made sure that the carer and social services were notified that the man on the second floor needed more suitable accommodation for his mobility.

“That is the sort of initiative and compassion we pride ourselves on at EEAST.”

Published 22 July 2020

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