Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Heroic Control Operator Ryan saves man from burning car

When he came across a road accident Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Control Operator Ryan Gibson sprang into heroic action pulling a man from the burning car just seconds before it was engulfed in flames.

Ryan, 34, had just left his home in Maldon on Tuesday August 17 when he saw the car in the road, at first he thought it was a parked car alight until a woman crawled out of the vehicle and started screaming that her partner was trapped in the burning car.

Without a second thought Ryan and two other passers-by ran to the already flaming vehicle where they found a man trapped with his legs crushed under the steering wheel.

Knowing time was of the essence the three of them worked to lift the steering wheel and pull the man out as quickly as possible.

Before joining the Service’s 999 Control team last year Ryan had served 14 years as part of the crew at Maldon Fire Station so he already had a great deal of experience when it comes to dealing with fires.

Ryan said: “I had just come around the corner and I saw the car there in the road with a fire under the bonnet. I hadn’t seen the crash so at first I thought it was a parked car alight and then a woman crawled out and started screaming and saying that her partner was still in the car and he couldn’t get out.

“Three of us ran up and we found the man, he was trapped with the steering wheel crushing his legs. One of us pulled the steering wheel up and myself and the other passer-by got hold of him under the shoulders and pulled him out.

“Within seconds of getting him free the entire car went up in flames. It was unbelievable. My training just kicked in and I didn’t think twice about what I was doing I just knew I had to act.

“The man was quite badly injured but if we hadn’t got him out when we did I hate to think what would have happened to him.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Bill said: “Were it not for Ryan’s quick thinking and swift action there is every possibility this man could have died in the blaze. He was the right man with the right skills in the right place at the right time. I am very proud of Ryan and would like to commend him for doing what he did at this incident."

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