Ealing Man is Firefighter of The Year

Viv Ellis meets local hero Paul Rich who saved six children on his birthday

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A firefighter from Southall has been awarded ‘Firefighter of the Year’ after saving six young children.

Paul Rich, scaled a ladder to the first floor of the terraced house, straddled the window sill to reach in and get one child out. Then, actually climbed into the room to get another four children while a colleague got the sixth. The children suffered smoke inhalation but all recovered.

It happened on Christmas Day 2012, which is also Paul’s birthday, when they received a call in the afternoon that a house was on fire.

He says: ''When we got to the house, there was thick smoke pouring out and you couldn’t see anything. We asked relatives and neighbours who was in the house and where they were likely to be''

There were officers with breathing apparatus present but they were having trouble getting to the first floor because the stairs were cluttered. So Paul raced to the rear of the house and reached the children that way.

The cause of the fire? An incense stick fell into a bag of laundry waiting to be ironed.

Paul's bravery was rewarded in the ‘Spirit of Fire’ - an annual awards ceremony organised by the Firefighters’ Charity



Viv Ellis


15th July 2014