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Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Gary Thompson, formally commended and presented a Certificate of Bravery on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire to 17-year-old Will Byrne for the heroic rescue of his mother from a fire in their Saintfield home. Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) nominated Will, who was 16 at the time of the incident, for formal recognition by the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire for his act of bravery.
The commendation was made following a house fire in December 2017. Smoke alarms alerted Will and his mother to a fire which had started in a first floor rear bedroom of their house. They were both in Will’s bedroom at the front of the house at the time, however due to renovations taking place the door handle had been removed and they were unable to open it from the inside.
After calling 999 and prior to Fire Crews arriving, Will was able to get out of the house through his bedroom window, open the bedroom door and lead his mother to safety.
Firefighters from Carryduff and Ballynahinch Fire Stations extinguished the fire which was contained in the rear bedroom and was caused by a faulty ceiling light.
Speaking at the presentation, Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Gary Thompson, said:
“I am delighted to formally commend Will today for his brave and swift actions and to present him with this formal Certificate of Bravery from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire. Will displayed remarkable heroism for such a young age and I would like to commend his quick-thinking and judgement in assessing the level of danger of the situation before rescuing his mother.
“This incident serves as a reminder to every one of the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home. Smoke alarms will give warning at the earliest stage of a fire giving you vital extra time to escape. We would urge everyone to fit a smoke alarm on each floor of their home and test it once a week to ensure it is working.”