10:32 Tuesday 20 May 2014

Brave Littleport man is crowned Adult Hero in Spirit of Fire Awards

Written byJORDAN DAY

Alan Chapman, centre, pictured when he received his award in November. Alan Chapman, centre, pictured when he received his award in November.

A courageous dad who saved a woman from a burning car has been honoured with another prestigious award.

Alan Chapman, 45, had his courage recognised by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) when he was awarded the Certificate of Commendation last November.

But on Friday (May 16) the father-of-three was also crowned Adult Hero at the national Spirit of Fire Awards after being nominated by CFRS.

The event honoured members of fire and rescue services and the public by recognising bravery within the fire community.

Mr Chapman, of The Barns, Littleport, met VIPs including Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, at a special Downing Street reception.

He said: “I had such a great day and even spoke to Eric Pickles myself. You go through life being inspired by amazing people with incredible stories and now suddenly, I’m up there as one of those inspirational people.

“For me, this whole experience has been so overwhelming and really quite humbling.”

It was on May 25 last year that Mr Chapman was driving along Branch Bank in Prickwillow when he came across the scene of an horrendous accident involving a motorcycle and a car.

Tragically, the motorcyclist, Christie-Joe Couzens, 22, of Parsons Lane, Littleport, was pronounced dead at the scene.

When Mr Chapman arrived at the collision, the female passenger of the car involved, a white Volkswagen estate, was screaming for help.

The vehicle’s driver, a woman, was still trapped inside the vehicle, which had flipped upside down onto its roof, and had caught fire.

Within seconds, Mr Chapman, a plastic moulder by trade, had managed to clamber in through one of the windows, unfastened the driver’s seatbelt and managed to get her out of the car.

As a result of his actions, the woman was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and survived her injuries.

Mr Chapman said: “People keep telling me I’m a hero but I don’t really see it like that. I just went into action mode and did what needed to be done on the day.

“I just rushed over to the car, which was on its roof, and managed to climb in through the window. I unfastened her seatbelt and managed to lift her out through the window.

“The heat was so intense it even faded half of one of my tattoos on my arm. It’s not everyday that something like that happens but I just knew that I had to do something.”

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