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Praise for Trowbridge woman after brave actions at house fire

Date: 8th November, 2021

A Trowbridge woman has been presented with a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation and a Bronze Medal from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire following her brave actions at a property fire last year.

Bardha Kola received her awards from the Chief Fire Officer of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Ben Ansell, at a presentation held at Trowbridge fire station.

She was initially nominated for the commendation by Station Manager Richard Humphrey, who attended the fire in Newtown, Trowbridge on 28 January 2020; Mr Ansell then nominated her for further recognition from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire.

After fire broke out in the roof space of her neighbour’s house, Mrs Kola entered the property, where the first floor was already beginning to fill with smoke and the noise of the fire could be heard above her.

Mrs Kola went upstairs, woke the elderly lady, helped her to the stairlift, brought her downstairs, lifted her into her wheelchair, and moved her to safety.

The size and ferocity of the fire was such that it could have broken through the ceiling at any time, without any warning. Mrs Kola carried out all of these actions in the minutes before firefighters arrived on scene.

Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell said: “The Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation is the highest award I can offer to a member of the public for acts of outstanding bravery, selflessness or courage in the face of adversity. In exceptional cases, I will also make a nomination to other bodies for recognition, and I was extremely pleased that the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire has recognised Mrs Kola for her incredible bravery on that day. It was my honour to make the presentation of a bronze medal on their behalf.”

He added: “Mrs Kola acted instinctively, selflessly and bravely, with complete disregard for her own safety. By putting her own life at risk, her actions that evening undoubtedly saved her neighbour’s life and, for me, it was one of the most exceptional rescues I have ever experienced from a member of the public.”

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