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Bill's story: fire hero inspired to volunteer

FESS hero Bill Morgan and Rachael Bodycot© InfoAfter rescuing his disabled neighbour from her burning home, hero Bill Morgan was so impressed by our fire and emergency support service (FESS) that he signed up as a volunteer.

Rachael Bodycot (36), from Glenfield in Leicestershire, was trapped in her bungalow in the early hours of 7 May after arsonists set fire to outhouses at the back of the property.

When her next-door neighbour, Bill Morgan (66), woke her by banging on the front door, wheelchair-user Rachael managed to drag herself from her bed to the door so he could carry her out. Bill even went back in to the smoke-filled house to retrieve her wheelchair.

She later told the Leicester Mercury: "I've said thank you to him but it doesn't seem enough. Without him, five or ten minutes later I would have been dead."

Chaotic scene

Emergency response fire UK© InfoWhen FESS volunteers Mark Walker and Helen Keating arrived shortly after, they found a very busy scene. Mark recalled: “Bill had taken Rachael into his home so there were police and fire officers and paramedics milling around everywhere.

“We quietly explained what we were there to do, then Helen and I spent the next seven hours helping to keep Rachael and Bill calm and happy while all this chaos went on around them.

"Helen, in particular, spent hours talking to Bill, who had earlier faced real danger and now had to cope with the stress of having his home occupied by so many people.”

However, all this activity meant that Bill, who recently retired and had already looked into a couple of volunteering opportunities, got a front row seat to see the FESS volunteers in action.

New recruit

Mark recalled: “As we were leaving, I told Bill he would make an excellent FESS volunteer because he was very patient, light-hearted and full of character. He seemed really pleased and interested, so I sent him a recruitment leaflet and he phoned that same day to say he’d love to get involved. And now he’s signed up to join the team.”

Looking back on the incident, Mark said: “I suppose that particular call-out ticked a lot of boxes – we comforted a very vulnerable lady, helped Bill during a very stressful few hours and landed a great new volunteer.”

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