Carer’s Courage : Quick Thinking Gayle Saves Two Pensioners

A care worker who saved an elderly couple from a fire could be honoured for her “exceptional bravery”. Gayle Stevenson led the pair to safety from their burning home after their chip pan went up in flames in Larbert on Thursday.

{mosimage}She and the pensioners, who were both in their 80s, needed hospital treatment for the effects of breathing smoke.

The 26-year-old has now been recommended for a civic award from Falkirk Council.

Ms Stevenson told the BBC Scotland news website she had been visiting a client when she noticed thick, black smoke coming from a house in Waverley Terrace at about 2100 BST.

She managed to persuade the couple to leave the house, but the man went back into the burning kitchen.

Ms Stevenson said: “I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to get the man out. The smoke was so thick from the ceiling to my shins, I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. I crawled back in on my hands and knees and brought him out.”

Ms Stevenson then flagged down a passing fire engine, which had been dealing with another incident.

Kenneth Taylor, from Central Scotland Fire and Rescue, praised Ms Stevenson for rescuing the couple, who did not have a smoke alarm fitted in their home.

He said: “We commend Gayle for her actions which, at significant risk to herself, undoubtedly made a difference to the outcome of this fire.

“We would urge anyone who sees or suspects a fire to dial 999 to ensure that assistance is sent directly to an incident.”

The convener of Falkirk Council’s Housing and Social Services committee has now called for Ms Stevenson’s actions to be officially honoured.

Councillor Gerry Goldie said: “It takes a certain kind of person to enter a burning house and bring not one but two people out to safety.

“Her actions are extraordinary, brave and selfless.

“I will be writing to Gayle personally to express my extreme gratitude on behalf of Falkirk Council’s Housing and Social Work Services for the exceptional bravery she has shown.

“Her actions deserve to be recognised and I have already written to the provost recommending Gayle for a civic award.”

Ms Stevenson said she was “totally overwhelmed” by the reaction to her rescue.

She said: “I’m gobsmacked. I just didn’t think anything of it.

“I don’t think I did anything brave. I just got the old man out, and I’m just glad they were okay.”

Central Scotland Fire and Rescue urged people to be more careful when deep frying food at home.

Area manager Kenneth Taylor said: “Chip pans should never be left unattended and we would urge people to consider the use of deep fat fryers instead of chip pans.”