Two men awarded for bravery after Ellesmere Port fire
Two members of the public who saved the life of a 94-year woman in Ellesmere Port after rescuing her from a house fire have been given an award from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock awarded the men a Community Award at Ellesmere Port Fire Station on 2 June for their brave actions that ultimately saved the woman’s life.
Chris Johnston, 34, from Liverpool, and Lucas Cooper, 26 from Ellesmere Port were invited to an awards ceremony where they also met the family of Florence Millichap who were keen to express their gratitude to the men.
Geoff Millichap, her son, said: “I am so glad they were there, if it hadn’t been for them I would have lost my mum that day and to live with that is just terrifying to think about. I just can’t thank them enough and I am so happy I got to do it face to face.”
Chris, who works for Plus Dane Housing was driving back to work just before 1.30pm on 5 November 2014. As he drove past a house on Oliver Lane in Great Sutton he noticed smoke coming from the property.
He pulled over and banged on the front door but got no answer. He was then joined by the neighbour, Lucas, who came over to see what was going on and Chris went around the back of the house after calling Cheshire Fire.
He opened the back door but was faced with a wall of smoke and flames. He shouted out to see if anyone was inside and heard a woman call out but because of the thick black smoke he couldn’t see her.
Chris said: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard someone call out and I was just determined to get in there somehow. It was like someone turned a switch on in my head and I knew I just had to get her out.”
The smoke was low down and it was far too dangerous to go inside. Lucas Cooper then joined Chris and as they looked through the patio doors they could see Mrs Millichap lying on the floor closeby. They used a concrete flower pot to smash the glass doors and rescued her just as the firefighters arrived at the scene.
Lucas said: “It was really distressing to know that someone was trapped inside and we had the opportunity to save them and you just feel helpless. Luckily she was quite near the patio doors so we didn’t have to go far inside the house once we had smashed them.”
The firefighters provided first aid when they arrived and extinguished the blaze, the cause of which was deemed to be electrical.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock said: “There is no doubt that the actions of these brave men ultimately saved the lady’s life and they certainly deserve recognition for what they did.
“We would never encourage anyone to go inside a burning building and thankfully the thick black smoke prevented them going inside the house, but they did not give up on finding the victim and her family is understandably truly thankful to them. These men deserve recognition for their tenacity and this award is our way of acknowledging their bravery.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has also nominated the two men for a national award in the Adult Hero category of the Fire Fighters Charity annual Spirit of Fire Awards.
Both men are very modest about the recognition. Chris said: “I feel like anyone would have done what we did, we were just in the right place at the right time but I do feel proud as I know if we had not been there the poor lady probably would not be alive today.”
Lucas added: “I feel emotional and proud that we rescued the lady and prolonged her life and it is just overwhelming to think that something we have done has been recognised like this.”
Lucas Cooper, Chris Johnston, Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hancock, Helen and Geoff Millichap
Chris Johnston and Lucas Cooper with their certificates
Damage caused by the fire
Date published: Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:29:26 GMT