Top award for 999 operator who helped save family

A 999 call operator who kept a mother calm while she and her young sons were trapped in a house fire has received a special award.

Sheila Tennant, 51, was presented with a Letter of Appreciation from West Yorkshire chief fire officer Phil Toase. She gave fire survival advice to mum Donna Green during a 2am 999 call from her burning home in Orion Place, Sowerby Bridge, in April.

Click here to listen to the dramatic 999 call.

Donna, her sons Joe, 10, Jake, eight, and Kian, two, were rescued through a bedroom window.

Sheila, who works in the mobililsing and communications centre at the fire service's Birkenshaw headquarters, said: "I felt the family were safe during the incident, as they had a fire plan which they were putting into action.

"I just had to reassure them that they were safe in the bedroom and the firefighters would be there shortly.

"Obviously I was relieved when I heard the firefighters arrive."

Sheila got to meet Donna and the children when Joe received a Letter of Appreciation for putting advice which he had learned in a school fire safety talk into practice.

She said: "I was really pleased to meet the family. Thankfully we don't take many calls like this, but when we do it is the ultimate in job satisfaction to have a happy outcome."

Chief fire officer, Phil Toase, said: "I have great admiration for our emergency control operators, who sometimes have to deal with very distressing calls. Sheila remained calm and professional while giving advice, giving this family the best possible chance of surviving."