Fire service commendation for brave Billy

A hero pensioner who rescued his 90-year-old neighbour from a house fire has received a commendation award from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.

By Andrew Coulson
Thursday, 28 March, 2019, 12:45
From left, Paul Hedley, Billy Richardson and Coun John Riddle, Northumberland Fire Authority chairman.

Billy Richardson could see the blaze at the property, close to his bungalow in the Isabella area of Blyth, on an evening in January this year.

The 75-year-old, who has four daughters and four grandchildren, said that he put his shirt on his head and entered the home and was met with a ‘wall of smoke’. The fire was coming from a chip pan.

Billy Richardson with his family.

He added: “I had to get out of the house, but I went back in on my hands and knees and shouted for Alan, who is 90, to get on the floor.

“I needed more air and then going in for the third time was when I reached him on the floor just outside the kitchen.

“I got him to the door, just as the fire service arrived. This happened on a Saturday and I was in hospital for 12 hours – Alan was released on the Tuesday.

“The next day, I went to his daughter’s to see how he was doing and he is still living there now whilst the repairs are being carried out.

“The firefighters, paramedics and hospital were all first class with me and I’m over the moon to get the commendation from the fire service.”

The presentation took place earlier this month at the West Hartford station.

Chief fire officer Paul Hedley, who has nominated Billy for a national accolade, said: “I hope Billy feels justifiably proud of his award.

“This amazing act of bravery and selflessness deserved recognition and it was lovely that his family could share his special moment.

“Billy really is a true community hero.”