Baptism of Fire for New Firefighter Alice

Bridgnorth firefighter Alice Stanley who helped to save a life on her first emergency call
Bridgnorth firefighter Alice Stanley who helped to save a life on her first emergency call
21st February, 2018

A newly qualified Bridgnorth firefighter saved a woman’s life in a house fire on her first ever 999 call, just eight days after finishing her training.

Alice Stanley (42), who only joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service as an on call firefighter in November, had just completed a breathing apparatus (BA)course when she was deployed into the smoke filled house in Eardington, near Bridgnorth, last week.

Wearing breathing apparatus, she was with colleague Joe Smallman. The pair arrived at the scene to be told by a man outside: “My wife’s in there.”

The firefighters were searching the two storey home when they found the woman in the kitchen trying to put out the fire. She was led to safety to be treated by firefighters and an ambulance crew from West Midlands Ambulance Service for burns and smoke inhalation, before being taken to hospital.

Alice and Joe then returned to put out the fire with a hose reel jet and water.

Bridgnorth Fire Station Watch Manager Ashley Brown said: “We all join the fire service to save lives but it’s extremely rare to do that at your first incident. Alice went in with a colleague and they saved the woman’s life.”

“She spent two weeks doing a breathing apparatus course where you learn lifesaving skills and she’s put those skills into practice just a few days later. It’s quite remarkable.”

Yorkshire born Alice, who works as a duty manager and lifeguard at Bridgnorth Leisure Centre, says she learned to stay calm as a referee of men’s ice hockey matches in the National Ice Hockey League.

“It’s what you join the fire service for. We’ve saved somebody and saved the house. Your training kicks in and you get on with it.”

Alice said it was fortunate the crew had just finished a weekly drill night at the fire station when the emergency call came through, which meant they were able to get to Eardington almost two miles away within minutes.

“As soon as I got on the fire engine my colleagues asked if I wanted to wear BA, so I prepared to use it on the way. Just a week before, I had been training at Telford fire station practising building search techniques and wearing breathing apparatus in the dark.

“The training is absolutely amazing. You learn so many skills in just a few months and they teach you how to cope with such incidents. Your training is ongoing,” added Alice, who said she had wanted to be a firefighter since being a small child.

Alice Stanley with Watch Manager Ashley Brown and firefighter Joe Smallman