Peterlee firefighters honoured after saving brothers from burning home

Station Manager Jono Holmes, Crew Manager Vaughan Godber, Crew Manager Andy Slater, Firefighter Demi Strange, Firefighter Mark Dale, Firefighter Clive Hudson, Firefighter Mark Rafferty, Firefighter John Laidler, Watch Manager Michael Corfield, Cllr John Shuttleworth, Chief Fire Officer Steve Helps.

Firefighters who rescued two brothers from a burning building in County Durham have been recognised for their life-saving actions.

On December 14 2023, a crew from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service's (CDDRS) Peterlee White Watch were called to a bin fire in the Forth Close area. However, on arrival, firefighters were faced with a large blaze inside a first floor flat with two people trapped inside.

Cameron Beattie, 21, and his brother Blaine, 10, were evacuated through a first-floor window and provided with medical care, before crews from Peterlee and Wheatley Hill arrived to put the fire out. Both brothers were taken to hospital, where Cameron was treated for a burn to his right arm and Blaine suffered 40% burns to his body.

Sadly, the family dog died in the fire, which is being treated as suspected arson by Durham Constabulary. Blaine spent two months in hospital but has been able to return home to his family, and met the firefighters who saved his life in February of this year.

On Monday (May 21), the firefighters who were first on the scene were honoured with a Certificate of Appreciation from CDDFRS Chief Fire Officer, Steve Helps. He said: "This incident demonstrates the professionalism, the speed of thought, the decisiveness, and the quick action of our crews.

Blaine Beattie and Mick Corfield, the watch manager who was on duty the night of the fire
Blaine Beattie and Mick Corfield, the watch manager who was on duty the night of the fire -Credit:County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service

"There is no doubt about it, if Peterlee White Watch had not responded in the way that they did, then we could have had a very different outcome. It is a huge privilege to be able to recognise the swift actions and the work of crews who rescued the two brothers and undoubtedly saved their lives."

Coun John Shuttleworth, chair of the Combined Fire Authority, added: "It takes a lot of bravery to do the role of a firefighter and dedication such as that shown by this crew deserves to be recognised."

Mick Corfield, watch manager from Peterlee White Watch, was on shift on the night of the fire. He said: "We train hard to ensure that we are always ready to respond to incidents like this and it is fantastic to be able to mark the successful outcome with this honour.

"I would encourage everyone to make sure they have working smoke alarms fitted in their homes and that people are testing them every week. If you need smoke alarms fitted – we can fit them for you."

Durham Constabulary have issued a re-appeal for information about the incident. They have encouraged anyone with information to call the force on 101 and quote incident 34 of December 14 or contact Firestoppers anonymously on 0800 169 5558.