Fire rescue woman says thanks to her St Albans 999 heroes

PUBLISHED: 15:02 23 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

Eileen Hill with Craig Linney and Marc Cavaciuti

Eileen Hill with Craig Linney and Marc Cavaciuti

ALL three emergency services have been praised by a 78-year-old woman rescued by firefighters after a blaze broke out in the kitchen of her St Albans flat. Eileen Hill, of Murton Court, is confined to a wheelchair and was trapped when the fire started in

ALL three emergency services have been praised by a 78-year-old woman rescued by firefighters after a blaze broke out in the kitchen of her St Albans flat.

Eileen Hill, of Murton Court, is confined to a wheelchair and was trapped when the fire started in the grill pan after dinner was prepared for her on Saturday, January 9.

She had fallen asleep after eating and woke up to a smoke-filled flat and the sound of her fire alarm. Although she managed to dial 999, Mrs Hill was unable to escape by herself and had to wait for the arrival of the St Albans firefighters.

Despite treacherous road conditions, the firefighters on White Watch managed to get to the property before Mrs Hill was overcome by smoke and they quickly put out the blaze, which had not yet taken hold.

Hot on their heels were the ambulance service who administered first aid at the scene and the police who informed her next of kin about the incident.

Compelled

Mrs Hill, who was widowed in 1959 when her husband died in a RAF plane crash over Turkey, read about the incident in last week's edition of the Herts Advertiser and felt compelled to publicly thank all three emergency services.

She said: "All the services were really marvellous - the firefighters, ambulance and police. They were so prompt and I can't thank them enough. The roads were terrible that night as it was snowy and icy and the road hadn't been gritted but they arrived so quickly."

Mrs Hill, a former worker for the National Pharma-ceutical Association who has lived in St Albans for 28 years, said: "It could've been very serious. The firefighters told me that what saved my life was that the batteries in my smoke alarm were working and hadn't run down. The smoke was in the hallway as well as in the kitchen.

"I called 999 but I couldn't get out into the hallway as there is a tiny little step and my wheelchair needs to be pushed. But the firefighters arrived so quickly and got me out.

"After they had done their job, the ambulance sat with me and made me a cup of tea and the police phoned my next of kin," she added.

Mrs Hill got the chance to thank White Watch crew commander Marc Cavaciuti and firefighter Craig Linney for the second time when they visited her on Tuesday to fit another smoke alarm.

The firefighters said the incident highlighted the importance of having smoke alarms tested regularly. For a free check, call 01727 818919.


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