999 call: Sheffield fire service hero helped save my life

Sinead Bowden and fire brigade control room operator Liam Booth.
Sinead Bowden and fire brigade control room operator Liam Booth.

YOU’RE my hero! A young woman rescued by firefighters when she was trapped in her blazing Sheffield home came face-to-face with the 999 operator who saved her life by giving crucial advice over the phone.

Sinead Bowden, aged 23, was stuck inside her parents’ home on Romsdal Road, Crookes, when a microwave caught fire because of a suspected electrical fault.

She made a frantic 999 call after waking up to find her bedroom filled with smoke and discovered she could not leave through the front or back doors.

Control room operator Liam Booth then stayed on the line with Sinead, giving her vital fire survival guidance until she was rescued by a fire crew.

Sinead visited South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s headquarters on Eyre Street, Sheffield, to meet Liam and the firefighters and thank them for their heroic efforts.

“I was absolutely terrified. The house was full of smoke and there was no way out,” said Sinead, a call centre worker.

“I was screaming at Liam but thankfully he stayed calm, told me to stay in my bedroom with the door and window closed, with a dressing gown at the bottom of the door to stop the smoke. He really did save my life.”

Liam, a crew manager with four year’s experience, said Sinead was ‘understandably very distressed’, but added: “We’re all extremely well-trained in dealing with this type of situation and she listened to all the advice I gave her.

“She told me afterwards that the batteries in her smoke alarm were the wrong way round so it didn’t go off. I’ve told her to make sure she checks it once a week from now on!”

The microwave was not being used, but was plugged in with the socket switched on.

Sinead she wanted to urge people to switch off plug sockets and check their fire alarms regularly.

“If the plug had just been turned off it would’ve been alright,” she said.

“I want to stress to people how important it is to test their fire alarms once a week.

“It doesn’t take long and I’m sure people walk past their smoke alarms numerous times every day.

“It doesn’t take much to reach up and press the button just to make sure it works.”

She was taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation following the fire last Monday, but was discharged the same day.

Sinead and her parents Collette, 52, and Aidan, 59, have had to move out temporarily.

The blaze gutted the kitchen, and the family face a repair bill running into thousands of pounds.

n Visit www.thestar.co.uk to hear Sinead’s dramatic 999 call.