HEROIC fire crews from Padiham have received a top award after saving a woman’s life last year.

Seven firefighters, two crew managers, and a watch manager, were honoured for their bravery in tackling the house fire, in Windermere Road, in July 2011.

They went against the advice of police to rescue unconscious 55-year-old Margaret Jackson.

Four firefighters, in breathing apparatus, were sent into the house to search for her, while colleagues dealt with the flames in the ground floor living room. Within three minutes of arriving, the crews had braved blistering temperatures, with zero visibility, to locate Ms Jackson in an upstairs bedroom and get her to safety.

She suffered severe lung trauma from smoke inhalation, and was in a critical condition in Royal Blackburn Hospital before making a full recovery.

Watch manager Duncan Barker-Brown, one of those to receive the commendation from East Lancashire group manager Jerry Cragg, said the incident proved how valuable Padiham’s retained staff are.

He said: “The prompt, and correct, actions of Padiham firefighters gave the very best chance of survival to the rescued occupant.

“Once outside, medical treatment was immediately commenced by fire crews, then handed over to paramedics on their arrival.

“Crews at Padiham Fire Station, along with colleagues throughout East Lancashire, work the retained duty system, which means they have other occupations, in addition to being firefighters.

“Committing time to the fire service really does make a difference to the town and the people who live in it.

“This is highlighted by an incident of this nature which, due to the commitment of residents of Padiham undertaking the role of retained firefighters, resulted in a tragic outcome being averted.”

The fire was caused by a fault in a component of a TV set left on standby.

Those commended were: Mr Barker-Brown; crew managers Darren Bowers and Anthony Thompson, and firefighters Lee Butterworth, Dave Byrom, Rick Courtney, Craig Farnol, Phil Gardner, Joe Horne, and Dan McNeil.