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RAF serviceman receives commendation and medal

Date: 12th November, 2019

An RAF serviceman 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 his brave actions at a property fire in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Ben Howarth, who lived in the town at the time of the fire in 2017, has been recognised after being nominated by an Officer from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

In May 2018, it was announced that Mr Howarth would also be awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery to recognise his courageous actions.

In the early hours of 26 April 2017, Mr Howarth was woken by his smoke alarms sounding and the smell of smoke. Realising the fire wasn’t in his home, he went outside and saw smoke issuing from his neighbour’s house.

Knowing his neighbour was in the property, and unable to get a response when trying to alert him, Mr Howarth decided to force entry. He crawled into the house under the smoke layer and found the occupant unconscious in the living room, so then dragged him clear of the fire and to the safety of outside.

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. Ben’s actions embodied the values of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and I’m extremely pleased that the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire has also taken this opportunity to recognise him for his incredible bravery on that day. It is my honour to make the presentation of a bronze medal on their behalf.”

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