Hero nurse saved child from burning house

TAKING ACTION ... South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust staff Barry Wanless, Kerry Donnelly, left, and Sara Spry.
TAKING ACTION ... South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust staff Barry Wanless, Kerry Donnelly, left, and Sara Spry.

A HERO nurse from South Tyneside braved a house blaze to rescue a sleeping child.

Barry Wanless, with colleagues Sara Spry and Kerry Donnelly from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Urgent Care Team, spotted a house fire while out on a visit to a patient.

They knocked on the door and alerted the occupant – a mother with three young daughters – who did not know there was a fire in her kitchen.

She was taken to safety with two of the youngsters, but the third child was asleep upstairs.

Mr Wanless, from South Shields, rushed into the smoke-filled home to rescue her.

The 43-year-old dad-of-two said: “The mother was quite shocked and confused by what was happening. When one of the children said their sister was in bed, I had to go in and get her.

“As a parent myself, all I could think of was getting all of the family out.

“The smoke was quite thick and there was no one in the first bedroom I tried, but there was a little girl asleep in the next one.

“I shouted, grabbed her and took her to the stairs and told her to run down, where Kerry was waiting. I then checked beneath the bedding in all the rooms just in case there was anyone else there.”

The nurses were getting equipment out of their car when they heard a smoke alarm coming from the house, in the Leam Lane Estate, Gateshead, and saw a glow coming from the kitchen window – where the cooker was on fire.

Once the woman and her children were out, the nurses told a neighbour to leave her house in case the cooker exploded.

Mr Wanless, who spent five years as a staff nurse at South Tyneside District Hospital, added: “I’m so thankful we were there to help.

“We’d been held up for about five minutes on our way there by some faulty traffic lights.

“If we’d arrived five minutes earlier, we would have been in our patient’s house and probably wouldn’t have heard the smoke alarm.

“Once it was over, we went to see our patient.”

Chief Executive of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Lorraine Lambert, said: “We could not be more proud of these staff.

“They showed enormous bravery, without a thought for their own safety, and their selfless act helped a family in great need.

“Our nursing teams always do a fantastic job but this just reinforces their caring attitude.

“The fact that Barry, Sara and Kerry went on to see their patient typifies the professionalism and dedication of our staff.”

The blaze was put out by firefighters from Blue Watch, Hebburn Community Fire Station.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette