Fire crews praise Leyland girl, 14, who rushed to help people trapped inside burning flat

A 14-year-old Leyland girl has been praised by Lancashire's fire service after she rushed to help people trapped inside a burning flat on Tuesday evening (August 24).

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 11:16 pm

Lily Swanson had been walking the family's Rottweiler Isobel close to their home when a strong burning smell in Hough Lane made her stop in her tracks.

The quick-thinking youngster looked around for the cause and spotted black smoke spilling out of a flat window above the Wardrobe clothes shop, near the Post Office.

"There were no flames at that point, but I could see people inside. I knew they needed help fast and I had to get home and call 999," said Lily.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leyland fire station manager Jonny Nottingham, who was the incident commander on the night of the fire, has praised Lily for her quick and calm response, saying Lily showed "maturity and calmness beyond her years"

Lily ran home to wake her dad and called the emergency services as clouds of smoke swiftly filled the street.

Lily's dad Mike Swanson, 42, grabbed his ladders and ran to the scene to help those trapped inside. Minutes later, the flat was ablaze.

Lily said: "As soon as I called the fire brigade, we ran back outside and we could see people hanging out the window.

"It had only been a minute or two since I first saw the smoke but as we were running over to help them, one of the windows blew off and fell into the street," she said.

Lily's dad Mike Swanson, 42, grabbed his ladders and rushed to help those trapped in the first-floor flat as fire crews made their way to the scene

"That’s when me and my dad saw the flames. I told my dad we should try and get everyone out of the other window above the barber's next door.

"We opened the ladders and leaned them against the building and there were two or three people trying to climb out. They were desperate.

"But then the fire brigade showed up very quickly and took over. We couldn't believe how fast they got there.

"We did everything we could do and thankfully everyone got out safely, which is the best that could have happened."

Lily Swanson, 14, had been walking her Rottweiler Isobel close to their Leyland home when the youngster spotted smoke coming from a flat above a shop in Hough Lane on Tuesday evening (August 24)

Leyland fire station manager Jonny Nottingham, who was the incident commander on the night of the fire, has praised Lily for her quick and calm response.

He said: "We’d like to thank Lily for calling us so quickly after spotting the fire in the apartment.

"We have seen in the past that people can have lots of different reactions to seeing a fire but Lily showed maturity and calmness beyond her years to quickly and effectively notify us."

Lily and her dad stayed at the scene whilst fire crews from Leyland, Chorley and Bamber Bridge evacuated the building and ensured everyone was safe.

Lily said: "As soon as I called the fire brigade, we ran back outside and we could see people hanging out the window. That’s when me and my dad saw the flames. I told my dad to grab his ladders and said we needed to try and get everyone out."

Her dad Mike said: "It was a proud dad moment for me, as it could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for Lily's quick response.

"She's been obsessed with this TV programme on Disney+ called '9-1-1'. It's about emergency services in America who deal with things like this.

"Then this happened practically on our doorstep and she handled it brilliantly. I'm very proud."

Firefighters remained at the scene of the blaze, which started in the flat's kitchen, for three hours before being stood down at 1.30am.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said the cause is still under investigation.