Rotary club salutes youngsters who braved burning building to warn residents of danger

Vladislavs Nedaskovskis and Diarmuid Devine are presented with their awards by club president Mike B

Vladislavs Nedaskovskis and Diarmuid Devine are presented with their awards by club president Mike Baker. - Credit: Archant

The Rotary club of Huntingdon have awarded two Hinchingbrooke students a Young Citizenship Award after they ran into a burning building to help raise the alarm and guide residents to safety.

Diarmuid Devine and Vladislavs Nedaskovski, both 16, were walking back from their school prom on June 22 when they saw signs of a fire coming from Elm Tree Court in Huntingdon.

The block of retirement flats had caught fire around 10.20pm, with dozens of residents forced from their homes and onto the street as smoke poured from the building.

The pair ran towards the complex in a bid to raise the alarm and help residents escape as they couldn’t see any emergency services at the scene.

After seeing the story in the Hunts Post, the president of the Rotary Club of Huntingdon, Mike Baker, felt the youngsters deserved recognition for their braveness.

Mr Baker said: “When I read the paper and saw how courageous the two boys were, I really wanted to reward them. I spoke to people at the club and they agreed, so I rang Hinchingbrooke School and asked to be put in contact with their parents.

“We decided to award them with a Young Citizenship Award and £50 as we really wanted to thank them for what they did for the community.”

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The two boys forced entry into the building and knocked on the doors of residents urging them to get out the building quickly.

They managed to get the 32 residents out of the flat safely before the emergency services arrived.

Mr Baker said: “What they did was very brave and something that needs to be recognised. We invited the boys to a lunch with the Rotary club and they explained to us what had happened. I couldn’t believe how brave they were. I think the background of the Grenfell Town tragedy played a big part in this and I think they did very well.”

The pair received their awards at the club’s meeting on September 6, where they were thanked for their efforts.

“I think that it was really important to recognise what they had done and to applaud their efforts. It’s so encouraging seeing two young 16-year-olds behaving in such a public spirited way and we are delighted to acknowledge their presence of mind and quick action,” said Mr Baker.