Bravery award for gas blast rescue hero

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AHERO Sheffield man has been honoured for his bravery after trying to save a neighbour’s life when a gas explosion turned his house into an inferno.

Charles Mills, aged 57, broke his neighbour Dennis Popplewell’s fall when he threw himself out of a bedroom window after flames ripped through his home on Jermyn Avenue, Hackenthorpe, in March.

Mr Mills then dragged Mr Popplewell away from the burning house on to a grass verge and tried to keep him conscious until emergency services arrived to take over.

His actions were recognised by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue at an awards ceremony organised to recognise firefighters, support staff and the public.

Mr Popplewell suffered horrific burns to 90 per cent of his body and failed to survive, but fire bosses praised his neighbour’s efforts to save him.

Mr Mills was presented with an Act of Bravery Award and a Chief Fire Officer’s commendation - the highest bravery accolade awarded by the fire service to the public.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer Beverley Sandy said: “Nothing could have prepared Mr Mills for the scene he came across that day, but acting on instinct he displayed remarkable bravery in an extremely distressing situation.

“His actions merited a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation, and he is also an extremely worthy recipient of the Public Act of Bravery Award.”

A number of firefighters with more than 20 years’ service received medals for their service and good conduct, including interim Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney.

Lowedges youngster William Boot was named Fire Cadet of the Year for his commitment and motivation.

Canklow Woods Primary School picked up the prize for Best Education Partner after adopting several fire service programmes.

Blades captain Chris Morgan and Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, from Doncaster, injured in a mine blast in Afghanistan in 2006, were special guests.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said: “This was a very special occasion for our Annual Award nominees.

“It was a wonderful way to recognise the tireless efforts of our staff, partners and the public, and I am extremely proud of their achievements.”