Brave Rise Park schoolboy saved family home from blaze

PUBLISHED: 09:39 15 November 2012 | UPDATED: 16:02 15 November 2012

Harry Cunningham, 12, was praised for his

Harry Cunningham, 12, was praised for his "cool head" by firefighters


A Rise Park schoolboy was praised for his “cool head” when he saved his family home from burning down last week.

Harry Cunningham, 12, was alone at the Faircross Avenue house - and just about to leave for school - when he discovered thick black smoke billowing from an upstairs room, just before 8am last Thursday (November 8).

The Marshalls Park student grabbed a phone, dialled 999, and made his way out of the mid-terrace property.

He said: “The boiler was rattling and I went halfway up the stairs to find thick black smoke rushing out of my bedroom.

“It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. It wasn’t a nice sight and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.”

He added: “The firefighters said I was an inspiration to younger kids and a hero.”

Neighbours looked after Harry while his parents were contacted.

It is believed the blaze was caused by an electrical fault in a boiler and is the third misfortune to befall the family home since 2004 when it was flooded and then burgled in 2010.

Harry’s dad, John, said: “The fire brigade were amazed that a 12-year-old boy had the bravery to call 999 and not freeze or panic. He did exactly the right thing and his family, friends and the firefighters could not praise him enough!”

Ron Bates, Romford Fire Station manager, said: “The boy used his mobile to call us and we were there in three minutes. He kept a cool head and did the right thing.

“Obviously the fire safety message is getting through: get out, stay out, get the fire brigade out.”

He added that anybody can get smoke detectors fitted for free by contacting the brigade.

The family, including mum Katy, are now in temporary housing while the damage is repaired - which could take up to six months.

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