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Father and son praised for elderly neighbour rescue

A father and son who saved their elderly neighbour after a fire broke out in her home have been praised at a special ceremony.

David and Adam Nutter were both given certificates from Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber for their courage and preservice in rescuing their neighbour at the ceremony held at Leek Community Fire Station on Tuesday (23 May).

Dad David, aged 42, and his son, 11-year-old Adam, of North Staffordshire, were enjoying time at home on 28 December 2022 when they heard what they initially thought to be their neighbour’s alarm clock going off.

After it had rang out for a number of minutes, Adam began to think the noise may be the smoke alarm and insisted that he and his father investigate.

David went to the neighbour’s house and soon realised it was indeed the smoke alarm going off after he spotted a fire that had spread from an open fire burning in the living room area.

The father and son duo immediately sprang into action and David managed to get the elderly neighbour, who had mobility issues, into their wheelchair and safely out of the building.

David then handed over the neighbour to ambulance crews, who had been alerted to the fire by another neighbour.

Our crews made sure the fire was properly extinguished, after it had spread onto the nearby carpet.

Following the fire, David underwent oxygen therapy after inhaling smoke. The neighbour was taken to hospital for treatment. She has since been out of the hospital and back at home. David has made a full recovery.

As part of the citations for their awards, Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber said: “Adam’s actions are a clear reminder of the importance of not ignoring alarms.

“He showed great strength of character that day, and if it hadn’t been for his perseverance, the fire could have spread and increased the danger to their neighbour.

“David showed immense courage and without his intervention the elderly lady may have not been able to get out of the property on her own and the fire would most definitely have spread.”

Speaking following the ceremony, mum of Adam and wife of David, Sarah Nutter, aged 42, said: “It was just after Christmas and we were all tired, so we were watching TV.

“Then Adam said he could hear a beeping noise and kept insisting it was a fire alarm.

“Myself and Dave could barely hear it and we thought it was an alarm clock.

“But Adam was insistent that we check, and when Dave went next door – he found the living room full of smoke and our neighbour asleep on the chair – she hadn’t heard the alarm due to her hearing difficulties.

“Dave managed to rouse her, open the windows to let out the smoke and stamp out the fire which had spread from the hearth to the carpet.

“I went over after hearing the shouts and helped our neighbour into her wheelchair and we eventually got her out of the property.

“A passing neighbour then called 999 and the fire service and ambulance arrived.”

Speaking of the ceremony on Tuesday, Sarah added: “I’m so incredibly proud of both Dave and Adam.

“If Adam hadn’t persevered and been so insistent, Dave wouldn’t have gone around to look and someone could have lost their life.

“They are true heroes in my eyes.”

The incident has led the family to be more aware of alarms and fire safety.

“I’m definitely more conscious of any alarm-like noise I hear,” Sarah added.

“Adam is convinced he wants to be a firefighter when he’s older now too.

“And what an experience to refer to in an application!” Sarah said.

For more information on how to protect your home and property from fire, visit: Your Safety (


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