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Bravery of police who entered burning building

Police officers who rescued a man from a burning building during the recent firefighters' strike are to be commended for their bravery in the line of duty.

A second man died in the fire less than a week ago.

The building on Northcote Avenue, Sunderland Credit: ITV News

On Tuesday, December 9, police officers were called to a flat in Northcote Avenue following reports of a fire.

On arrival, officers discovered that the occupant of the upstairs flat was trapped by rising smoke from the blaze in the property below. Before a team of non-striking firefighters - known as a Resilience Team - arrived at the scene - PC William Hunter and PC Paul Cullen decided to enter the property to rescue the man.

It was only later that the body of a man was found in the burnt-out downstairs flat. He has been named as Kevin Gray, who was 35.

Now, Chief Constable Sue Sim is to commend the officers for their bravery and quick thinking which resulted in one man escaping with minor injuries.

The courageous actions of PC William Hunter and PC Paul Cullen encompasses the true spirit of policing and I commend their instinctive and decisive actions in bringing the man to safety. Additional officers who attended the scene assisted their colleagues throughout. Sadly, one man lost his life in the fire in a separate flat and our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends at this difficult time."

– Chief Constable Sue Simm, Northumbria Police

Government 'confident' firefighters' pay is 'sustainable'

The Department for Communities and Local Government has said they are "confident the scheme put before Parliament is one of the best in the public sector".

It follows the death of a man in a fire in a flat on Wearside. The fire took place during the fire fighters 24 hour strike over pensions.

The Government is confident that the scheme put before Parliament is one of the best in the public sector and is fair and sustainable for firefighters and taxpayers alike.

– A DCLG spokesman

Fire Officer: 'Impossible' to say if strike affected fatal fire

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling speaking to the press Credit: ITV

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling says his crews responded immediately after receiving a call to last night's fire in Sunderland, despite the 24 hour strike.

He added that there was no delay in responding. He admits crews were a mixture of full time and reserve firefighters, rather than entirely full time crews which would have been used if the dispute had not been taking place.

He said it is 'impossible' to determine if anything would have happened differently if the strike was not on.

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Emergency services at the scene of fatal Sunderland fire

Northcote Avenue in Hendon Credit: ITV

Investigations are being carried out to find the cause of a fatal fire in Sunderland.

The building, on Northcote Avenue in Hendon, was well alight when fire crews arrived at the scene just before midnight.

The body of a man was found in the downstairs flat. A man in an upstairs flat was rescued.

Northcote Avenue in Hendon Credit: ITV

Trained 'civilians' attended fatal fire during strike

It was a team of volunteers put together to provide emergency cover during firefighter strikes which dealt with a fatal fire in Sunderland last night.

The Resilience Team is made up of higher-ranking fire officers who are not taking part in the stoppages, and trained crew members who are from a wide variety of background, and are not full-time firefighters.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer John Baines told ITV Tyne Tees that the crews are very well trained, and were deployed to this incident without delay. The building, on Northcote Avenue in Hendon, was well alight when they arrived at the scene just before midnight.

A man in an upstairs flat was rescued, and it wasn't known at the time whether anyone was in the property below it at the time. Fire crews wearing masks to help them breath entered the ground floor property where they found the body of a man.

His identity has not been revealed.

Fire service pays tribute to man who died in flat fire

"Our thoughts and sympathies go out to this gentleman’s family and friends at this very sad time.

“I would like to encourage people to take extra care. I cannot emphasise enough to everyone the importance of having working smoke alarms. Every household should have one on every level and they should be checked regularly. They give you the vital minutes you need to get out safely.”

– Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
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