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Bravery of life-saving firefighters praised by chief

The house in Sunderland after the fire. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Firefighters who saved the life of an 18-month-old boy have been praised for their bravery.

These comments have come from Chris Lowther, the chief fire officer with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, following a house fire in Sunderland.

This saw crews from Marley Park, Sunderland Central and Farringdon rescue Miles McBurnie from the smoke and flames.

It then became clear he was suffering from smoke inhalation, so the crew performed CPR until the paramedics arrived to take him to hospital.

Mr Lowther said: "We understand he is recovering and our thoughts remain with his family and we hope he will get better very soon."

“When our firefighters attend a house fire, they often don’t know what challenges they might face until they arrive on scene, he added.

"As well as tackling the fire itself, their first priority is to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone involved.

Mr Lowther highlighted the work of officer in charge Kev Burns, crew manager Ronnie Monaghan and firefighters Lee Thew, Lee Chape and Michael Longstaff, all of whom who rescued Miles and gave him CPR to support his breathing.

He said: "Firefighters are trained to deal with many difficult and challenging circumstances. But, without a doubt the incidents that stay with us the longest are when children are involved.

"This is when it is essential that we keep our emotions in check, despite our natural responses as human beings. Such incidents demand extreme professionalism and dedication in order for us to achieve the best outcome for everyone concerned.

"I am proud of all our firefighters – the men and women in our Service who put their own life and safety on the line to make sure everyone in our community stays safe. Their bravery is a tribute to everyone in Tyne and Wear.”

The likely cause of the fire was an unattended candle and the fire service has advised that anyone lighting candles should ensure they are never left alight in an empty room, are not be placed close to decorations and must be extinguished before people leave homes or go to bed.

People have also been advised to make sure they have a working smoke alarm, and that all the family know the sound it makes and that this means they should leave their home immediately. Have a pre-agreed escape plan.

For further fire safety information, go to www.Twfire.gov.uk