Heroic employee saves elderly people in Sunderland care home blaze

The Croft Care Home, Ettrick Grove, Sunderland.

The Croft Care Home, Ettrick Grove, Sunderland.

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A QUICK-THINKING member of staff has been praised for his actions in tackling a fire which broke out in a Sunderland care home.

Peter Riddell grabbed a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze, which started in a downstairs toilet during his shift at The Croft, pictured, in High Barnes on Thursday night.

His actions meant the 31 residents of the Ettrick Grove nursing home could be led to safety.

The Croft’s owner and manager Kathryn Dunningham said: “Peter dealt with it brilliantly. It was a very small fire, but what he did was massively important, hugely important.

“The fire was on the main floor in a toilet, where you would never think you would have a fire. Peter used a fire extinguisher in line with our training and protocol. I was very grateful. We made sure the residents’ safety was paramount, but they were never in danger.”

Modest hero Peter Riddell, 48, a senior carer at the home, said: “Flames were shooting up to the ceiling, but I just went into overdrive.

“I grabbed the extinguisher and told a colleague to ring 999 and to evacuate the residents. “We’ve all been trained in this and everything went to plan.”

After the blaze, Peter, from High Barnes, was taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.

“I just did what anyone would do,” he said.

The fire services was alerted after an extractor fan in the communal toilet caught alight at 8pm.

Two fire engines from Farringdon were called to the scene, where a phased evacuation of the residents was taking place.

Mr Riddell was also praised by the firefighters who attended the scene.

Watch manager Ron Monaghan said: “A member of staff noticed smoke coming from under the door of the toilet. When he opened the door, the smoke set the alarm off. Another member of staff went in and extinguished the fire before it got any worse. His actions prevented a more serious fire from occurring.

“We cut away some of the wall and removed some plastic piping behind the cavity wall and used a thermal imaging camera to check for hot spots.

“Everybody was fine. The gentleman who extinguished the fire was checked over by paramedics as a precaution.

“It had the potential to be much worse but his quick actions have prevented something more serious.”