Fearless firefighters honoured for rescuing couple from submerged car

A firefighter wades through armpit deep water to a submerged car under the rail bridge at Green Lane

A firefighter wades through armpit deep water to a submerged car under the rail bridge at Green Lane, Thorpe End, only to find an elderly couple trapped. Picture: Alex and Matt Emmerson - Credit: Alex and Matt Emmerson

Thirteen fearless firefighters have been honoured for helping to save the lives of an elderly man and woman stranded in a submerged car during floods.

Firefighters in Norfolk

The firefighters who helped rescue a couple from a submerged car were awarded the Chief Fire Officer Commendation. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Courageous firefighters, who waded through flood water to carry the couple from their car during the dramatic Christmas Eve rescue - plus those whose quick-thinking in control helped prevent tragedy - have been honoured with Chief Fire Officer commendations.

Among them was Sprowston red watch manager Chris Harding-Hook, who went into deep water under the railway bridge in Green Lane, between Thorpe End and Great Plumstead, to rescue the trapped pair.

A firefighter wades through armpit deep water to a submerged car under the rail bridge at Green Lane

A firefighter wades through armpit deep water to a submerged car under the rail bridge at Green Lane, Thorpe End, only to find an elderly couple trapped. Picture: Alex and Matt Emmerson - Credit: Alex and Matt Emmerson

Without any specialist gear, he ended up with his head just above the flood water, which had reached the top of the car window.

Chris Harding-Hook, red watch manager at Sprowston fire station.

Chris Harding-Hook, red watch manager at Sprowston fire station. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

He smashed the passenger car window and pulled out a woman, before two of his Sprowston firefighter colleagues freed a man from the back of the Honda car.

The pair were taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to be checked over, but were okay.

And Norfolk Fire and Rescue's chief fire officer Stuart Ruff, who met the firefighters to award his commendations this week, said it was tribute to the teamwork, bravery and quick-thinking of all 13 members of the service.

The 13 who received awards were from Sprowston Red Watch, Carrow Red Watch and control Red Watch.

Along with Mr Harding-Hook, Sprowston firefighters Jason Moore and Martin Le Page, plus crew manager Ian Dallain were commended.

Firefighters

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff and Ian Dallain. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

The Carrow firefighters honoured were watch manager Michael Hughes and firefighters Tom Banks, Andrew Barron, Paul Browne and Leigh Madeley.

Firefighters

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff and Leigh Madeley. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighter awards

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff and Tom Banks. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff and Paul Browne. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

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And those from control were watch manager (control) Darren Leach and firefighters (control) Robert Bickle, Kayleigh Arthurton and Julie Church, usually a white watch member who was standing in on that shift.

Firefighter

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff with Darren Leach. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

Mr Ruff said: "Our teams regularly face life and death situations. In this instance, 13 of our staff members worked together to reassure, react quickly and take lifesaving action to rescue two elderly people trapped in a car under water.

The flood water under the rail bridge on Green Lane between Great Plumstead and Thorpe End.

Floods at the Bridge in Green Lane, between Thorpe End and Great Plumstead. - Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Copyright: Archant 2021

"Our control staff offered reassurance and comfort, lifesaving advice and ensured our crews were directed to where they needed to be.

"When the crews arrived they acted quickly as every second really did count.

Firefighters

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff with Andy Barron. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

“These kind of heroic actions are worthy of our Chief Fire Officer’s commendation and I was pleased to be able to present these this week.”

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