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Commendations recognise acts of bravery


Date: 25th April, 2024

Members of the public have received Chief Fire Officer’s Commendations in recognition of their courageous actions.

The awards were presented by Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service’s annual awards ceremony, held at Tidworth Garrison Theatre on 18 April.

Mandy Blackford and Liz Watts, who both work for Swindon Borough Council’s Homeline service, were commended for rescuing an elderly lady from her smoke-filled flat last November.

The resident had called Homeline after falling but, during the call, it became apparent that a candle had also fallen and had set fire to the carpet, triggering the smoke alarms.

Mandy and Liz were already on their way to the flat and arrived before firefighters. Despite the smoke, they gained entry and brought the resident to safety.

A commendation was also made to Edward Bryant of Wimborne, who rescued a woman from the River Stour last June.

Edward had been walking his dog, Reggie, when the pet became agitated and drew his attention to the woman being in the water. Having called a neighbour to bring a ladder to the scene, and knowing that firefighters were on their way to help, he entered the river and helped the woman to get back onto the bank.

CFO Ansell said: “These commendations mark the appreciation of the Chief Fire Officer of meritorious conduct, that is above and beyond the call of duty, by staff, volunteers, partners or members of the public.

“Every year, I receive a number of nominations, and I was delighted to formally recognise Mandy, Liz and Edward for their swift and courageous actions. Without them, I have no doubt that two lives could have been lost.”

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