|Window cleaner Gareth Salmon survived explosions and smoke to save an elderly woman from her burning flat. David Domoney, from ITVs Love your Garden, Gareth Salmon and Chief Fire & Rescue Advisor CFO Peter Holland.|
Ruislip father honoured for saving woman from flat fire: A Ruislip window cleaner has been honoured after saving an elderly woman's life rescuing her from a burning flat. Gareth Salmon, 39, of Marlborough Avenue, was cleaning a block of flats when he noticed smoke coming from one of the windows. He immediately stopped what he was doing and rang all the bells of the flats to find out if someone was in there, and a neighbour told him an elderly woman was stuck inside.
The father-of-two said, "I kicked the front door down and got through all the smoke. I had to crawl along the floor for so far, but I wasn’t able to breathe and I couldn’t reach her." Finally gaining access after flames forced him to retreat, an explosion blew him out of the door. Not giving up, he re-entered the property and saved the woman. “The gas had exploded, so that threw me back out the door," he said.
“I went back in but it was still full of smoke and luckily I stumbled over her as she was lying in the hallway, and I think because she was lying down she was still ok. “She was burnt but I managed to pick her up and get myself out through the kitchen and on to the balcony and get her out. About a minute after that it exploded so there was a big fireball out the window, and it just completely wiped out the flat - I was lucky really!”
Brave Mr Salmon didn't think twice about saving the woman and didn't have “time to take in what was happening”. He said: “I was just concentrating. Because I could hear her, I was just determined to get her out. “I was thinking: 'I’ve got to get her before the fire gets any worse.' There’s no way I couldn’t go in.”
The dramatic moments all happened on New Years Eve of 2013-2014, which ended with the woman being airlifted to hospital and London Fire Brigade tackling the blaze. Luckily Mr Salmon wasn't hurt at all, and said: “I was just lucky… when I went in, I just put a cloth around my mouth and I didn’t get any smoke inhalation.”
Spirit of Fire Awards: Mr Salmon was awarded with the title of Adult Hero at the star-studded Spirit of Fire Awards 2015, which took place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel on October 2, hosted by The Fire Fighters Charity, and presented by BBC newsreader Nicholas Owen.
The Spirit of Fire Awards are supported by Infographics UK Ltd, the developer of FireWatch and FloSuite software for the Fire & Rescue Service, and honour members of the fire community and members of the public by recognising acts of astonishing courage and bravery, as well as dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity.
A stellar line-up of award presenters included comedian Russell Howard; actors Niamh McGrady, Bhasker Patel and John Partridge; sports presenter Diana Binks; TV gardener David Domoney; and Great British Bake Off contestant Mat Riley.
The awards were followed by a Downing Street reception for nominees, hosted by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He said: “I’ve been inspired by the accounts of self-sacrifice and dedication that the winners and nominees of this year’s Spirit of Fire awards have shown, both at individual incidents and in their support for the Fire Fighters Charity.
“This charity provides world-class support and treatment for serving and retired firefighters, as well as their families, and it is in recognition of this that we continue to support its work. I would like to congratulate all those involved in the awards, and to thank them for all their hard work and commitment.”
Receiving the accolade was “mixed emotions” for humble Mr Salmon. He said: “You go there and the room is full of firefighters who do it full-time for a living, and you think really, they should be getting all the honour. “But it’s still really nice to be recognised for what you’ve done.”