London Fire Brigade

London Firefighter named 'Firefighter of the Year'

20 October 2012

A London firefighter has seen off tough competition from fire and rescue services across the UK  to be named ‘Firefighter of the Year’ at the prestigious Spirit of Fire Awards.

Nathan Julien (25), who is based at Stoke Newington Fire Station, was presented with the honour at a special awards ceremony organised by The Fire Fighters Charity on Friday (19 October). The Spirit of Fire Awards recognise bravery in the fire service and dedication to the Fire Fighters Charity, with the ‘Firefighter of the Year’ award presented to a serving firefighter  judged to have gone ‘beyond the call of duty.’

Firefighter  Julien was off duty and on his way to his younger brother’s birthday party in June this year when he drove past the scene of a head on collision involving three cars in Tottenham. Three people in  one of the cars managed to escape but the two male drivers of the two other cars were still inside their vehicles.

Despite being told by by-standers not to intervene, Firefighter Julien, put all thoughts of his own safety aside and pulled one of the drivers from his vehicle moments before it burst into flames. The man was suffering from chest injuries and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Once he’d got the first man out, and braving an intense fire, Nathan went back and pulled the second driver out of his car. Despite London Ambulance Service crews and doctors from London’s Air Ambulance giving him treatment at the scene, the man sadly died on the way to hospital.

Speaking following the awards ceremony Firefighter Julien said: "I'm flattered to have been recognised in this way, it's a great honour. I was really just doing what any other firefighter would have done .

“This award has made me particularly proud of what I'm a part of - that being the emergency services as a whole. I'd also  like to extend my congratulations to all the other nominees."

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: “Firefighter Julien put all thoughts of his own safety aside to pull these two men from their burning cars. His brave and selfless actions fully deserve to be recognised with this award. Nathan is the sort of individual who makes the London Fire Brigade the world class emergency service that it is, and he is a credit to it.” 

In a separate incident this year, Nathan was also part of a fire crew  that dragged an injured man, armed with a knife, to safety from a burning building and out onto the street where medical treatment could be given.

At the time of the traffic accident in Tottenham, Nathan had only been with the Brigade for just over a year. He started his firefighter training with the Brigade in March 2011 and joined the red watch at Stoke Newington in July 2011.

Notes to editors

• The Fire Fighters Charity Spirit of Fire Awards recognise bravery in the fire service and dedication to the Fire Fighters Charity.

• The Fire Fighters Charity Spirit of Fire Awards were held on Friday  at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge Hotel on Friday (19 October)

• The Firefighter of the Year award is presented to a serving member of the fire and rescue service who has gone beyond the call of duty