Mother thanks firefighters who saved family’s life
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A mother who was trapped in her smoke-filled home with her young son and half-sister has been reunited with firefighters to personally thank them for saving their lives.
Tami Warnes, 25, told four-year-old son Jay everything was going to be all right – despite fearing it would not be – as they desperately waited for emergency services to arrive.
The situation became so urgent that firefighter Andy Masterson, 38, was not even wearing breathing apparatus when he scaled the fire ladder three times into clouds of thick black smoke to carry the family down to safety.
Now Miss Warnes, of Great Yarmouth, has told the crew she does not think they would have made it out of the flat alive if it were not for their heroic actions.
In a reunion at Great Yarmouth Fire Station on Saturday, she said: 'Thank you for saving our lives. If you hadn't done what you did, it could be a whole lot worse.'
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It was last Tuesday, at about 2am, that she woke to the sound of ringing alarms and thick, black smoke, initially thinking the sound was her alarm clock, but then became aware of smoke in her room.
She rushed to get her young son and, along with her half-sister, Chelsea, she tried to escape down the stairs to safety, but they were turned back by thick smoke.
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'I was just thinking I needed to get Jay out of there,' she recalled. 'Jay said 'mummy we're going to die' as I held him out of the window and was screaming 'help, get us out'.
'I really did think we were going to die and started panicking when Jay said that.
'I told him we were going to be all right, but I was lying to him. I thought the place was going to blow up downstairs and we were going to die. I was waiting for it to happen.'
Dad of two, Mr Masterson, brought down the family members one by one, starting with the young boy, carrying him in his arms.
He modestly denies any courageous actions and instead insists it was a team effort.
'We aren't heroes. The fire service have got to do something, this is what we are trained for,' he said.
Staff stayed on the phone with Miss Warnes until crews arrived, guiding her in trying to block the door of the bedroom with blankets to stem some of the smoke.
Despite being taken to hospital to be checked over after the rescue, Mr Masterson returned to finish his shift. The three family members were also treated for smoke inhalation.
Miss Warnes and Jay visited the fire station and were shown around the engines and met the team of 15 who were involved in the dramatic rescue.
The downstairs of the pair's home has been almost completely ruined by the fire, which is believed to have started at a fuse box.
They hope to move into a flat next door, behind Regent Street, on Tuesday this week and will spend Christmas Day with family.
As previously reported, all of Jay's Christmas presents were unharmed by the fire.
Do you have a story about someone's amazing efforts to save a life? Email firstname.lastname@example.org