Exmouth firefighters’ work praised

PUBLISHED: 14:39 05 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:39 05 August 2014

Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell. Pictured here are firefighters who rescued Tony Bennett, who was trapped beneath a tree in Otterton.

Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell. Pictured here are firefighters who rescued Tony Bennett, who was trapped beneath a tree in Otterton.

Archant

Firefighters from Exmouth were among those recognised by chief fire officer Lee Howell, who praised their work and dedication at major incidents such as the recent flooding in Somerset.

Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell. Pictured here is Jason Newcombe, from Budleigh Salterton. Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell. Pictured here is Jason Newcombe, from Budleigh Salterton.

Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell.

Firefighters and support staff who were involved in the major flooding incidents on the Somerset Levels, and at Dawlish, were awarded Chief Fire Officer’s letters of commendation, while long service and good conduct medals were presented to those who had completed at least 20 years’ service with good conduct.

Chief fire officer’s commendations were awarded to Scott Eley, Ian Johnston, Peter Watson and Pete Trapnell for the rescue of a man trapped beneath a tree in Otterton in November 2013.

Parish councillor Tony Bennett cheated death by inches when a storm-damaged tree rolled on top of him as he cut away damaged boughs.

Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell. Exmouth firefighters going above and beyond the call of duty have been recognised for their work and dedication by chief fire officer Lee Howell.

Mr Bennett was trapped against a steep embankment and suffered a punctured lung, eight broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade. He would have died had the tree rolled three inches in either direction.

At the time around 20 firefighters worked to stabilise the tree with winches because it was in danger of sliding down the bank.

Mrs Bennett’s wife, Jane, praised the fire crews for their efforts.

After the accident, she told the Journal: “The fire service stabilised the tree in all directions. They had to hold it steady and use a trowel to dig because it may destabilise the tree. It took just over two hours to get him out.”

Watch manager Matt Mason received the chief fire officer’s commendation for raising funds for the Hope for Children charity, completing the 29th Marathon Des Sables.

Giles White received a chief fire officer’s letter of commendation for his ‘significant contribution’ during the recent flooding on the Somerset Levels.

Exmouth fire station became one of five in Devon and Somerset to provide specialist flood assistance locally and nationally.

Exmouth’s firefighters were issued a new piece of kit to help with their humanitarian role – a boat – which was used in Somerset, providing personnel on two shifts a day backing-up to Avon and Somerset police.

Crews from Exmouth helped police with security around the flood-stricken evacuated homes on the Somerset levels.

Exmouth’s firefighters also ran a river taxi, taking residents in and out of the cut-off village of Muchelny.

Also recognised for his work and dedication to the fire brigade was crew manager Jason Newcombe, at Budleigh Salterton, who was awarded a long service and good conduct medal.

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