Schoolboy Helps Families Escape Fire

A schoolboy who carried out work experience with the fire service put his learning into lifesaving action by helping families escape a fire in Southampton.

15-year-old Josh Patterson spotted smoke billowing from the back of a chip shop on Townhill Way, Midanbury, on Tuesday night (October 16th).

Josh sprung into action, knocking on doors to raise the alarm with residents living in flats above the parade of shops where the fire was taking place.

All the residents, including a baby, escaped and the Bitterne Park schoolboy said he had learnt the importance of raising the alarm early while on work experience at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's headquarters in May.

Josh said:

"I saw thick black smoke coming from the shop and I knew there was a family with a newborn baby living above there.

"I ran up the stairs and knocked on their door and they had no idea there was a fire downstairs.

"I told the man he needed to get his baby out and then helped him with alerting the other residents in the flats and getting them out."

The fire, which is believed to have been caused by a build-up of fat in the extraction ducts, left the shop badly damaged.

Station Manager Steve Ash, the officer in charge at the incident, said evacuating the flats was a vital part of the incident and that Josh's actions were the major factor in helping the residents escape.

He said:

"I am aware that Josh was extremely keen to learn about fire safety while he was with us on work experience and his response was a testament to what he learned. We are very proud of Josh and the brave action he took.

"Raising the alarm early provides people with valuable time to escape any fire, which is why we always remind people of the importance of working smoke detectors."

Josh, who is currently studying public services, said he had now been inspired to become a firefighter in the future.

He said: "I loved doing work experience at the fire service and I am definitely thinking about training to join as a firefighter when I finish college."