School boy honoured for fire alert
A four-year-old boy has become one of the youngest people in the country to receive a bravery award after he saved his school from a fire.
Liam Mansell raised the alarm when he spotted smoke coming from a laminator in a small kitchen at White Mere Community Primary School in Wardley, Gateshead, just days after he started there.
All 167 pupils, plus around 25 nursery children and a similar number of staff, were safely evacuated and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service swiftly dealt with the fire.
His mother Vicky said: "Liam was just settling into his first week at school when the fire happened.
"We are amazed at how he behaved and we are extremely proud of him receiving this fantastic award today."
He was cheered at a special assembly where he was given a bravery award by the fire service, and his head teacher Gail Howe was particularly impressed with the calm way he dealt with the drama.
She said: "Liam raised the alarm in a very prompt fashion, went back into his classroom and said to his teacher 'I think our school is on fire, Miss'.
"She came straight out of the classroom, broke the glass and we evacuated the school within two minutes.
"It meant an awful lot of people were saved by Liam's actions.
"He remained calm so all his classmates remained calm and it meant the teacher could chaperone them out in a very safe fashion.
"I think he is one of the youngest to ever receive this award nationally, which is a major accolade for Liam."
Ian Warne, station manager for Gateshead and Birtley fire stations, said: "His actions not only reduced the damage to the school but made sure all his fellow pupils and teachers were safe.
"It goes to show no matter how old you are, you can react to a fire safely."
Fire officers presented him with a bravery certificate and he was given Fireman Sam toys as a reward.
The school escaped with only minor damage and there was no disruption to classes.