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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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A66 crash heroes deserve bravery award, says Cumbria fire boss

Heroes who saved the lives of a family of five and a pick-up driver by pulling them out of vehicles, even after one had burst into flames, should receive an award for their bravery.

That’s the view of station manager Adrian Holme, of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, after Saturday’s head-on crash on the A66 at Threlkeld, near Keswick.

The crash left three members of the family – a 10-year-old boy, a man and a woman – in a serious condition. They were airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Two other children and the woman pick-up driver were taken to Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary with minor injuries.

Three air ambulances, three ambulances and three other specialist crews from the North West Ambulance Service, fire crews from Keswick and Penrith and police from Workington, Penrith and Cockermouth were all called to the scene.

A group of passing motorists put their own lives in danger to pull those trapped in the vehicles to safety, even as flames began to engulf the vehicle.

Mr Holme, said he believes that the group of heroic passers-by will be put forward for an award, an idea that he and the fire service would back.

“Their actions undoubtedly saved lives on the day.”

Off-duty paramedic Graham Green, from Temple Sowerby, near Penrith, was one of those who came upon the scene. He described running to the accident to find smoke billowing from under the bonnet of the family car.

“At that point I didn’t realise the brave people around the car had already got the three children out of the back of the car and they had been taken up to the pub,” he said. “It wasn’t until I was helping the mother in the front passenger seat and she was asking about her children that I was told where they were.”

Mr Green added: “I’m not a hero; I get paid and am fully trained. The real heroes are those brave members of the public who got out of their cars and did what they did.”

But Mr Green’s bosses praised his actions. Derek Cartwright, director of operations for the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “Graham’s actions were truly heroic.”

Among the other rescuers was Anthony Richardson, 30, from County Durham.

He said: “There was smoke billowing everywhere and the flames just got bigger and bigger.”

Police want to speak to any witnesses and want other rescuers to get in touch on 101.

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