A school in Gateshead in which a fire had broken out was safely evacuated after a four-year-old boy raised the alarm.
Liam Mansell had only been a pupil at White Mere Community Primary School in Wardley for a few days when he saw smoke coming from a laminator.
He immediately informed his teacher, and all 167 pupils, 25 nursery children and around two dozen members of staff safely left the building before Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service brought the blaze under control.
Classes resumed shortly after the incident, which caused only minor damage to the building.
Fire officers were so impressed with Liam’s quick thinking that they presented him with a bravery award – making him one of the youngest people in the UK to receive such an accolade.
Liam, who was celebrated in a special assembly, was also given some Fireman Sam toys by the fire service.
His head teacher Gail Howe said she was amazed at how calmly Liam dealt with the situation.
She said: “Liam raised the alarm in a very prompt fashion, went back into his classroom and said to his teacher ‘I think our school is on fire, Miss’.
She came straight out of the classroom, broke the glass and we evacuated the school within two minutes. It meant an awful lot of people were saved by Liam’s actions.”
Ms Howe said his calm demeanour meant his fellow pupils remained calm too, which helped the teacher lead them out of the building in a safe fashion.
Liam’s mother Vicky said she was “amazed” at how he behaved during the incident, as he was just settling into his first week at the school, and added she was “extremely proud” that he was given the bravery award by the fire service.
Ian Warne, station manager for Gateshead and Birtley fire stations, said: “His actions not only reduced the damage to the school but made sure all his fellow pupils and teachers were safe.
“It goes to show no matter how old you are, you can react to a fire safely.”
Fires in the workplace can lead to painful burn injuries, infections and permanent scars.
If you have been injured in a fire incident at work which was not your fault, contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 for legal assistance for making a burn injury compensation claim.
Date Published: October 2, 2014
Author: David Brown