Garbage Collector Rescues Occupants From Burning Home

February 29, 2024

Today's good news story comes from West Midlands in Birmingham, England.

In a dramatic turn of events this morning, a garbage collector's quick thinking and heroic actions saved the lives of a man, a woman, and their pet dog as a fire engulfed a maisonette in Birmingham.

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Steve Whitehouse (right) | Credit: West Midlands Fire Service

The incident unfolded around 8 am when several 999 calls reported the fire. Fire crews from Tipton, Dudley, Bilston, and Wednesbury stations raced to the scene. Upon arrival, they were relieved to find that Steve Whitehouse, a 49-year-old Refuse Operative employed by Serco, had already rescued the occupants.

Steve was on his trade waste round with driver Kevin Marriott when they spotted the blaze. Without hesitation, Steve leaped into action, climbing a first-floor balcony three times to ensure the safety of the trapped trio.

"I saw a young woman screaming from the balcony, and all I could think was that I needed to get to her as quickly as possible," Steve told West Midlands Fire Service. He successfully pulled the woman to safety and then went back up to rescue a distressed young man and his dog.

"The smoke was getting thicker. I managed to bundle up the dog in a blanket, jumped back down to the ground, and got the owner to throw the dog to me. I then went back up to help him," Steve recounted.

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West Midlands Fire Service

Once the rescue mission was complete, Steve turned his attention to alerting neighbors to the danger, while Kevin assisted those who had evacuated their homes. Remarkably, after taking a moment to recover over coffee, the duo resumed their daily rounds.

Tipton Watch Commander Chris Green, the incident commander, praised Steve's incredible bravery, stating, "It was heroic. One rescue would have been remarkable. To save the lives of two people and a dog is staggering. We will be putting him forward for official recognition."

The fire is believed to have started when an e-bike battery exploded while on charge at the bottom of the stairs, cutting off the occupants' escape route.

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