Budding firefighter who came to the rescue of fire crews tackling Barking blaze shares his story

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 15 June 2018

Taylor distributed food and drink among the firefighters tackling the fire in Barking. Picture: Clare Heatley

Taylor distributed food and drink among the firefighters tackling the fire in Barking. Picture: Clare Heatley

Claire Headley

A budding firefighter from Barking came to the rescue of fire crews tackling the recycling centre blaze last week - by rushing to the shops to bring them supplies.

Taylor Dodd, 16, happened to be passing the recycling centre while the firefighters were battling the flames, which were coming from a 30 tonnes pile of mixed refuse which had set alight.

Plumes of smoke emanating from the fire could be seen for miles around. Six fire engines and 35 firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 1pm on Wednesday.

Taylor, who is an instructor for the fire cadets at Dagenham Fire Station, was keen to watch the crew in action so he could pick up some tips on how to tackle a large scale fire - although he wasn’t allowed to get too close the flames.

Whilst doing this, he heard members of the London Fire Brigade complain they were hungry and thirsty.

Smoke from the River Road fire can be seen from Barking town centre Picture: Sophie MortonSmoke from the River Road fire can be seen from Barking town centre Picture: Sophie Morton

“I thought ‘I don’t like the sound of that,’” he said.

Taylor then rushed to the nearby cash and carry to pick up pallets of water and crisps using his own money and distributed them among the firefighters.

“They were really thankful,” said Taylor. “They told me that I didn’t have to do that.”

Taylor, who was a fire cadet himself, now trains others in fire safety.

Taylor at the scene. Picture: Clare HeatleyTaylor at the scene. Picture: Clare Heatley

“I teach young people fire safety and things that will benefit them in case of any emergency,” he said.

Taylor’s mum, Clare Heatley, heaped praise on her son for his kind gesture.

“I just thought it was a really good thing for him to do,” said Claire, who reimbursed her son for some of the money he spent.

“The firefighters were really thankful and they couldn’t believe he had spent his own money on it.”

Taylor is hoping to be a fully qualified firefighter himself when he turns 18.

For him, being a firefighter is all about helping others and looking after the safety of others.

He said: “I want to give back to the community what it has given to me.”

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