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Friday, April 3, 1998 Published at 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK



UK

Posthumous award for female firefighter
image: [ Avon Fire Brigade said it was
Avon Fire Brigade said it was "proud and privileged" to hear of the awards

Fleur Lombard, Britain's first woman firefighter to die on peacetime duty, has been posthumously awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

She died in a Bristol supermarket fire in 1996 started by an arsonist.

Fleur Lombard was separated from her colleagues and died in the intense heat.

A security guard was jailed last year for manslaughter and arson.


[ image: Fleur Lombard was caught in a flashover]
Fleur Lombard was caught in a flashover
Two of Fleur Lombard's colleagues have been honoured for trying to save her.

Rob Seaman, 29, and Pat Foley, 33, went into the blazing supermarket to recover the 21-year-old firefighter's body.

Mr Seaman receives the George Medal, and Mr Foley receives the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.

Avon Fire Brigade said it was "proud and privileged" to hear of the awards, announced from Buckingham Palace.

Fleur Lombard was caught in a "flashover": the explosive moment in a fire when many objects burst into flame because of the intense heat.


[ image: Ms Lombard had just completed her two-year probationary period with Avon Fire Brigade]
Ms Lombard had just completed her two-year probationary period with Avon Fire Brigade
At the time, she was heading out of the supermarket with Mr Seaman.

Although disorientated, he managed to scramble to safety.

But realising Fleur Lombard had not escaped, he immediately went back into the fire with Pat Foley at his side.

They found Ms Lombard's body just feet from the main entrance - only a few steps from safety.

Mr Seaman said: "I really do have mixed emotions over the award. Obviously I'm pleased to receive it, but it does bring it all back.


[ image: Martin Cody started the fire deliberately]
Martin Cody started the fire deliberately
"I am also a little embarrassed to be picked out. What I did was pure instinct."

Mr Foley, who trained and joined the Avon Fire Brigade with Fleur in 1994, said: "Anything that relates to the incident brings back sad memories.

"It would have been nice to be receiving an award for saving Fleur instead."

Security guard Martin Cody, 21, from Bristol, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for manslaughter and arson.






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