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Bravery awards for Homerton firefighters who risked their lives in blaze at hostel

PUBLISHED: 16:33 15 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:33 15 November 2013

Pictured from left is Speaker  Michael Desmond,  fire fighter Angelo Comparini, fire fighter Dean Fenton, crew manager Craig Feuner, crew manager Kevin Connor, fire fighter Justin Thomas, Borough Commander Steve Dudeney.

Pictured from left is Speaker Michael Desmond, fire fighter Angelo Comparini, fire fighter Dean Fenton, crew manager Craig Feuner, crew manager Kevin Connor, fire fighter Justin Thomas, Borough Commander Steve Dudeney.

Dieter Perry

Five firefighters have been honoured at a special awards ceremony at the town hall after a heroic rescue from a fatal blaze.

The brave men from Homerton fire station risked their lives to save four people who were trapped in a boarded up and disused former hostel ablaze in Lower Clapton Road, Clapton.

Around 40 firefighters tackled the raging inferno in the early hours of August 4 at the former rehab centre for drug addicts which was opened by Princess Diana in the early 1980s and was being used as a squat.

Crew manager Kevin Connor and firefighters Dean Fenton, Angelo Comparini and Justin Thomas scaled walls, fences and ladders during the rescue operation which was overseen and directed by crew manager Craig Fenner.

Mr Comparini and Mr Thomas rescued three men and a woman were stranded on a porch roof trying to escape the billowing blaze, although one of the men jumped 25ft before the firefighters could reach him and he died in hospital several months later from his injuries.

Meanwhile Mr Fenton and another fireman Lee Andrews, who has declined the award on the grounds he was just doing his job, broke through a locked door during a search of the premises and rescued a man who was unconscious.

Mr Comparini, 38, of Essex, said: “I saw lots of smoke and realised it was quite a serious fire. I was not scared, we are trained to do it.

“I would say we were just doing our job. Most firefighters would have done the same thing.

“But it’s always nice to be recognised for the job you do every now and then as there’s a lot of people who don’t get recognised.”

It’s unusual for fire commendations to be given and this is one of only a handful to be held in the borough in the last 15 years. London Fire Brigade borough commander Steve Dudeney led the commendation ceremony.

Homerton Fire Station manager Norman Perry said: “I and the borough commander are extremely proud of the work the men did saving people. It was not a straight-forward rescue. It was quite risky.”

An investigation was carried out into the cause of the fire, but the results were inconclusive.

One other man was found dead in the blaze.

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