Nottinghamshire | Top honour for bravery

Nottinghamshire | 19 April 2012

Nottinghamshire’s Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann has congratulated four of his firefighters on being awarded “one of the greatest honours it is possible for anyone to achieve”.

Andrew Alexander (38), Sanjeev Mohla (34), Daniel Wareham (28) and Matthew Willis (29) of Stockhill Fire Station have each been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. The medal, which is only one level below the George Medal, is awarded to civilians for acts of exemplary bravery.

The four men were nominated for the honour after responding to a major gas explosion at a house close to the fire station in June 2010 that left two people with dramatic life-changing injuries and destroyed the property.

They had left the station and were en-route to another emergency call when the explosion happened in Stockhill Lane, just as they were passing. They stopped immediately and went into the crumbling property to attempt to rescue the occupants. Despite the dangers of further explosions and building collapse, they carried two critically injured adults clear of the property and delivered them into the hands of waiting paramedics.

“This was an extraordinary act of bravery,” said Frank Swann. “Firefighters potentially put their lives on the line every day of the week, but this crew displayed incredible bravery and selflessness by responding to a situation that happened, literally in front of their eyes. At that early stage of an explosion anything could have happened, but they put concerns for their own safety aside and focused completely on rescuing the injured.

“The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is only awarded in exceptional circumstances and I am so proud that four of my firefighters have been honoured in this way.”

The four Firefighters, Crew Manager Jonathan Wilson, Crew Manager Gary Hodgkins and Station Manager Chris Clark have already received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for their role in the team response to this incident.

The Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser Sir Ken Knight said: “I wish to pass on my personal congratulations to these firefighters whose skill and professionalism upholds the best traditions of the Fire and Rescue Service.

“Firefighters Andrew Alexander, Sanjeev Mohla, Matthew Willis and Daniel Wareham demonstrated immense courage and professionalism to search for and rescue two seriously injured casualties in a partially collapsed building following a large gas explosion.”

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