Telford house fire mum meets 999 Fire Operator who helped save her life

Saved with the calm help of a 999 emergency fire operator. Estelle Guest meets fire control operator Sandra Davies at Shrewsbury fire HQ.

A young Shropshire mum was today reunited with the fire control operator whose calm voice over the phone helped save her family’s life when they were trapped in the bedroom of their blazing home.

Estelle Guest (24) got to thank Watch Manager Sandra Davies in person when she made a visit to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s control room at the Shrewsbury fire HQ.

Sandra kept Estelle talking over the phone for a number of minutes to reassure her and give fire safety advice while fire crews raced to her Brookside home in the early hours of September 4 this year after a chip pan caught fire.

The fire control operator stayed on the line right up until fire crews arrived on the scene to battle the blaze in Bembridge. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus scaled a ladder to a back bedroom window to rescue her children, aged just two and three, and then returned to save Estelle.

“I have been in the service for eight years and this was my second call from someone trapped in a fire. I could see through our mapping system that the fire crews were well on their way and I used my training to ensure Estelle remained calm. She did very well in a very stressful situation,” said Sandra.

Estelle said she was “overwhelmed” and very grateful to meet the fire control operator and the firefighters who rescued her and her two young children. She also promised to only use a thermostatically controlled chip pan in the future but would be sticking to oven chips for now.

“When I discovered the fire I remembered my fire training as a child and immediately turned off the gas. I went upstairs to get the children but the smoke took hold in the house and I knew I couldn’t take the children through that. I dialled 999 and went to a back bedroom and opened the window to wait for the firefighters.”

Estelle said she remembered her training as an eleven year old when fire crews taught children what to do in a fire as part of Crucial Crew, a multi agency training event run by the fire service on behalf of Telford and Wrekin.

In 2011 Estelle also had a visit from firefighters who carried out a home fire safety visit introduced by the fire service a decade ago to raise awareness about the importance of being “fire safe.”

She had asked firefighters how to escape if a fire took hold in her home.

“Estelle was able to use the information she had received to help her escape when the fire broke out. This is a clear example of how valuable Crucial Crew training to eleven-year-olds is as it shows how important that information can be in the future,” said Community fire safety team leader Rabinder Dhami.

He praised Estelle for “doing everything right” during the ordeal and he urged others to ensure they always had an escape plan in case of fire.

Crew manager Mick Davidson who attended the scene also praised Estelle for her actions when the fire took hold.

“She did well. She called the fire brigade immediately, gathered the children together and took them to the back bedroom away from the fire and waited at an open window for help.”

The mother and both children were treated at the scene for the effects of breathing in smoke but none required hospital treatment.

The fire service spokesman said the incident highlighted the dangers of cooking late at night when tired.

15th October, 2012