Firefighters re-united with rescued boy

Brian Mottram (centre) was rescued as a baby by firefighters Simon Cullen (right) and Billy Merrifield (left)
Brian Mottram (centre) was rescued as a baby by firefighters Simon Cullen (right) and Billy Merrifield (left)

A man who was rescued from a house fire as a baby has been reunited with the firefighters who saved his life.

Brian Mottram was 18 months old when a fire broke out at his home in Thornby Gardens in 2002. Brian’s dad Clive tried to get back inside to rescue his son but couldn’t get near because of the thick smoke.

Thankfully, firefighters Simon Cullen and Billy Merrifield from Edmonton Fire Station arrived in time and entered the property wearing breathing apparatus to rescue Brian from a first floor bedroom.

Brian, now aged 19, suffered 44% burns and was rushed to a specialist burns hospital, where he was given just a one-in-20 chance of survival. Miraculously, he pulled through. Last month Brian visited Edmonton Fire Station along with his partner Jessica and father Clive. He met with the crew, including Billy who still works at the station and Simon, who has left London Fire Brigade but travelled from Dorset to meet Brian.

Simon said of the rescue: “We had been told the child was definitely in the room and I remember hoping that he wasn’t and that he was somewhere else because of the state of the room, but then we found him.

“At first I thought he was a doll but quickly realised he wasn’t and I just picked him up and carried him outside into the front garden.”

Billy added: “We were assuming the worst – he was barely alive – then when we came back on duty we found out he was still fighting and pushing on and against all the odds he made it through.

“Fortunately we don’t get that many jobs involving children so this one has definitely stuck in my mind.”

At the station, Brian was able to talk to Billy and Simon about the fire and ask some of the questions he has lived with. He said it was emotional but worth it: “It’s helped to give me a bit of closure and get some answers around exactly how I was rescued. The guys were really great.”

Clive, who had the idea to visit the station, added: “I wanted to take him there both for Brian and for the firefighters – so they could see someone they saved 18 years ago.

“Really and truly if I had a gold medal I would like to hand it to Simon. If it wasn’t for him, my 19-year-old son, who is making me a grandad, might not be here.”