A woman who was rescued from a house fire on her first birthday has been reunited with the firefighters who saved her life.
Jade Broderick was lying lifeless in a cot when a firefighter entered her blazing bedroom at her former home in Southworth Avenue in Bewsey, Warrington, 24 years ago. The firefighter burnt his hands, suffered a head injury and overcame soaring heat and thick smoke to rescue her from the house before his colleagues outside performed CPR to resuscitate her. The majority of the crew that were part of the memorable rescue recently reunited at Warrington Fire Station be with the girl they saved. Now the mother of a baby of her own, Jade went to the station to thank her heroes for her and her 10-month-old son Blake’s lives.
Jade, who lives in Northwich, said: “Meeting the firefighters who saved me from certain death as baby is an experience that I will never forget. All but one of them have retired from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service now but they still came to the station to meet me, my baby boy Blake and my fiancée Kyle Stubbs. Our lovely little family would not exist had it not been for their heroic actions 24 years ago.
“Firefighters do not get enough credit for the jobs they do. It must have been scary turning up to a fire like that but it didn’t stop them from coming inside the house and putting the life of someone they did not know before their own. It was a very emotional experience meeting up with them. I thanked them all so many times. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to them for what they did and I intend to arrange to meet up with them again in the near future.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke, who was the firefighter who rescued Jade from the bedroom the fire started in, said: “None of us will ever forget that incident on 27 June 1995.
“Baby Jade was like a rag doll when we rescued her. She wasn’t breathing when I got her out of the house but the crew were able to bring her back to life and it was a near miracle that she survived. We have often wondered how little Jade is over the years and it was fantastic for us all to be able to meet up with her and her family 24 years on.
“Seeing her now as a beautiful, lovely woman with a baby of her own gave us all a great sense of pride. You think you have saved one life but you have actually affected so many.
Seeing Jade again has made me take stock and my message to anyone who is thinking of becoming a firefighter is that you will sometimes experience traumatic incidents but things like this – meeting someone whose life you saved – makes everything you do worthwhile. The work that the men and women of the fire service do saves so many lives and there is nothing more satisfying than that. The pride of being part of a rescue like Jade’s stays with you forever.”
Gus was given a Chief Fire Officer Commendation for helping to save Jade’s life. Her dad Patrick Broderick was also commended for his bravery after suffering various burn injuries from repeatedly trying to run up the stairs to reach baby Jade before firefighters arrived.
Patrick died in 2010 and prior to visiting the fire station yesterday Jade put flowers on his grave on what would have been his 51st birthday.
Jade, 25, said: “It was just a coincidence my visit to the fire station fell on my dad’s birthday.
“Visiting his grave beforehand added to the emotion of the day – a day I will always remember.”
Jade suffered 40 per cent burns to her hands, lower arms, left leg and back as a result of the fire. She was put on a life support machine at hospital and had to have a series of operations and skin grafts over the ensuing years.
For more information, go to www.cheshirefire.gov.uk