Sunderland gas explosion heroes honoured for their bravery

Steve Thomas and Kev Sirey receive their commendations from  Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther
Steve Thomas and Kev Sirey receive their commendations from Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther
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Two firefighters who put their lives on the line to save a woman after an horrific house explosion in Sunderland have been honoured for their bravery.

Farringdon Green Watch Crew Manager Steve Thomas and Firefighter Kev Sirey rescued 40-year-old Susan Shepherd from the ruins of her home in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope, after it was ripped apart by the blast in August last year.

The upstairs of the remaining house in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope.

The upstairs of the remaining house in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope.

Now they have received a Commendation from Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther for their outstanding service.

Susan Shepherd was seriously injured and was airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after the blast.

Fortunately, children Jasmine, nine, and Kyle, 19, were staying elsewhere at the time, but the entire street had to be evacuated following the explosion.

“Crew Manager Thomas and Firefighter Sirey showed incredible bravery in rescuing Susan Shepherd, following a gas explosion at her home last year,” said Mr Lowther.

Crew Manager Thomas and Firefighter Sirey showed incredible bravery in rescuing Susan Shepherd, following a gas explosion at her home last year.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther

“Not only did they safely navigate their way through a highly precarious and collapsed structure without causing harm to themselves or further harm to the casualty, but they also used their Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) training and experience to reach her and ensure she could be safely removed and swiftly placed into the care of the North East Ambulance Service.

“These were acts of incredible skill, dedication and professionalism – delivered whilst also facing real personal danger to themselves.

“This Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation is justly deserved and a further demonstration of the challenges we face and are ready to surmount to keep our communities safe.”

Steve and Kev used dynamic risk assessments and past USAR experience to safely make their way to Susan as the building was in a collapsed state.

Emergency workers at the scene of the explosion in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope.

Emergency workers at the scene of the explosion in Rosslyn Avenue, Ryhope.

She was found very close to an overhanging part of the building components which could have collapsed at any time.

A device was placed at the scene to observe any building movement before the pair moved debris away in order to free Susan, while at the same time talking to her to ensure that there was no one else in the house and ensure she received medical treatment as quickly as possible.

The remaining section of the semi-detached homes in Rosslyn Avenue after the blast

The remaining section of the semi-detached homes in Rosslyn Avenue after the blast