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Daughter thanks heroes who saved father from Greyabbey house fire

By Allan Preston

Published 02/06/2016

Portaferry-based trainee fireman George Toma, who helped save Mr Brown
Portaferry-based trainee fireman George Toma, who helped save Mr Brown
Firefighters at the scene of the blaze on Greyabbey’s Main Street

The daughter of a Greyabbey man rescued from his burning home on Tuesday morning has thanked three men for bravely saving her father's life.

Maurice Brown, who is in his 50s, was found unconscious in an upstairs bedroom yesterday morning on the village's Main Street after smoke was seen coming from the roof.

His daughter, Christine Andrews, said she heard that three men had entered the building to pull him to safety.

Among them was Portaferry-based trainee fireman George Toma, who had stopped on his way to work at around 7am after noticing smoke.

Taking a fire extinguisher from his car, Mr Toma entered the heavily smoke-logged building with two others.

After the dramatic rescue, firefighters from Ballywalter Fire Station were soon on the scene to tackle the flames. Mr Brown was given oxygen until ambulance crews arrived to take him to the Ulster Hospital.

Christine said she had been told that Richard Gilmore, a builder in the local area, had also taken part in the rescue, along with another man who is yet to be identified.

"My dad is doing fine now - he's out of hospital," she added. "Someone rang me from the street when they had just got him from the house.

"It was such a good thing to hear. We all just followed him up to the hospital after that.

"They were very brave, the people who came into the house to save him. I'd like to thank them very much.

"It was a very brave act of them to do, and it just shows that there are a lot of good people out there who are willing to help a stranger.

"I'm just thankful that we had a good outcome today and that my father is fine and walked away from hospital."

Lloyd Crawford, southern area commander for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: "I would like to commend the quick thinking, bravery and decisiveness shown by George this morning.

"His actions potentially saved a life today. He embodies what working for the NIFRS is all about. George has all the attributes we look for in a retained firefighter and will be an asset to the local community.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the actions of the neighbours in supporting George and also to the firefighters who attended the incident."

The blaze is being treated as accidental and assessors are due to visit the property today for an inspection.

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