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Man in flames saved by firefighters

Firefighters who saved a man who soaked himself in petrol and set himself alight have been honoured.

Crew members Tony Briley, 47, and Anthony Parkes, 41, found the man covered in fuel and threatening to set the fumes alight.

They tried to calm him down and even engaged him in conversation.

They also managed to run a hose reel jet through a neighbour’s house in case they needed water.

The man did became engulfed in flames and, without fear for their own safety, the two, who had taken off their helmets to talk with him, tackled him to the ground.

They eventually managed to put out the flames with a blanket and the hose jet.

The incident happened in Cranbrook last December. The victim, who still lives in the town, suffered 20 per cent burns to his upper body and face.

Mr Briley and Mr Parkes were among Kent Fire and Rescue teams who were commended at an awards ceremony at Oakwood House, Maidstone.

Others honoured included firefighters from Maidstone’s White Watch, who kept cool heads when they faced this situation on New Year’s Day and rescued two men from a smoke-filled burning building.

The crew were called to the ground floor of a building in Hayle Road, Maidstone and discovered a fire spreading and a man calling for help from a first floor window.

Firefighters Lee Drewnicki and Martin Rowden quickly pitched a ladder to rescue the man and carry him to safety.

Then news came that a second man was trapped inside. While one team of firefighters in breathing apparatus tackled the ferocious blaze, a second team, also in breathing apparatus entered the house.

In extreme heat and dense smoke, the crew checked five locked rooms. Firefighters John Cox and Ian Pearce had to force their way into each one.

Eventually they discovered the man unconscious in the last and furthest room. Low on air and exhausted, the pair then carried the man to safety.

CFO Bill Feeley said: “All of White Watch, Maidstone, showed extreme tenacity, courage and determination to ensure a successful outcome, resulting in the rescue of two casualties.

“Without their actions, this incident could have had a far more serious ending.”

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