Press release

Essex Chief Fire Officer awards four commendations to firefighters and police officers

Firefighter Keegan Johnson with Chief Fire Officer Rick Hylton

The Chief Fire Officer of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service awarded four commendations to two firefighters and seven police officers on Monday.

The commendations were presented on Monday 15 April, during an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of ECFRS over the last year.

Rick Hylton, Chief Fire Officer at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service awarded the commendations - the highest honour a CFO can give - for bravery and helping to save the lives of several members of the public.

Off-duty firefighter gives first aid at the scene of a road traffic collision

Firefighter Sam Hogwood from Coggeshall Fire Station was commended for his life-saving actions while off-duty.

Sam, who manages a pet food shop by day, was the first person on scene to offer support at a road traffic collision. A man was critically injured in a car following a collision with a lorry, near to Popular Nursery, in Marks Tey. 

Without hesitation, Sam identified himself as an on-call firefighter and started giving first aid to the injured man while waiting for ambulance colleagues. 

The man was unresponsive, had a serious head injury and was struggling to breath on his own. Sam worked to clear and maintain his airway until he could be rescued from the car.

Off-duty firefighter gives first aid to teenager girl

Firefighter Keegan Johnson from Stansted Fire Station was commended for acting quickly to give first aid to a teenage girl.

Keegan, who is a dispenser in a pharmacy, was just settling in for the evening at home last summer, when they heard screaming coming from the street outside. Rushing to the window, they saw a teenage girl with a heavily bleeding hand.    

Springing into action, Keegan grabbed a first aid kit and raced outside to the girl.  

Keegan took her to the side of the road and calmed her down, she had a deep cut from her thumb to her wrist. 

Keegan comforted her and said they were a firefighter with first aid training.

The girl was bleeding quite heavily after cutting her hand on some glass, Keegan quickly used most of their first aid kit up, but thankfully lots of people had stopped and several of them brought first aid kits from their cars. Keegan’s first aid training took over and they worked quickly to treat the girl’s hand. 

Once Keegan had administered first aid - the pair then headed to the fire station for a cup of tea while Keegan waited with the casualty to be collected from the fire station. 

Off-duty police officers commended for rescuing neighbours in house fire

Rick Hylton was joined by Andy Prophet, Deputy Chief Constable at Essex Police to present David and Samantha Bridge from Essex Police with commendations for saving their neighbours during a house fire.

David and Samantha were woken up during the early hours of the night to what sounded like an explosion as lightening struck their neighbours home in Corringham.

Without hesitation, David and Samantha entered the fire and smoke filled bungalow to rescue their neighbours, six dogs and a cat.

With the ceiling collapsing in the smoke and fire filled bungalow, David and Samantha were able to save their neighbours. Dave, a dog handler, took each pet one by one and placed it to safety in his car.

The fire took crews from Corringham, Orsett, Basildon and Grays two hours to extinguish.

Police officers rescue nine people during fire

Five police officers were commended for their quick-thinking to rescue nine people at the scene of a fire in Clacton. 

Last November, officers were deployed to arrest an outstanding suspect when they spotted a mobility scooter on fire outside the front door of a property.  

Taking decisive action, DS Phil Weedon, DC Adam Westall, PC Tom Rowsell, together with local policing team officers PC Richie Brannan and Special Constable Damien Butcher, rushed to the scene.

The homeowner had returned to the address, shouting to officers that his family remained trapped inside. Officers smashed a window to the property, before lifting seven children and two adults to safety. Just as the mobility scooter exploded into a fireball. 

Rick Hylton said: “I’m immensely proud of the people we have here in Essex who go above and beyond to help make Essex safe.

“Our firefighters have shown that they are never off-duty and have put their first aid training to good use to help people who desperately needed it.

“Our police colleagues ran towards danger to help save lives, putting their own lives at risk. It takes real bravery and courage to run towards a fire and even more so to run into it to rescue others.

“I and those people, will forever be grateful for your bravery and quick thinking.”

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