AN EIGHT-year-old girl from Salford who saved her family and
friends from a house fire is warning children to never play with
Amy O'Toole alerted 18 people - including her parents and 10
brothers and sisters - to a blaze after smelling smoke coming from
an upstairs bedroom at her home.
Amy said: "I could smell smoke and when I went into the room I
could see there was some bedding on fire. I shouted for my
mum as loud as I could and told everyone to get out of the
"I knew what to do and I'm going to tell all my friends that
playing with matches is really dangerous and you shouldn't do
Now Amy has been awarded a certificate of bravery by Greater
Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) after visiting Agecroft
Fire Station with the rest of her family.
Amy's mum, 34-year-old Michelle Leech said: "We're all so proud
of Amy and it was great for all the kids to come to the fire
station and learn from the firefighters about the dangers of
playing with matches.
"They really enjoyed looking at the fire engines and they are
all going to tell their friends at school that you shouldn't play
with matches, lighters or any kind of fire because it is naughty
and very dangerous."
Firefighters from Agecroft, Farnworth and Eccles fire stations
were called to the house in Coniston Road in Swinton at 14.57pm on
Sunday, May 27, 2012.
By the time they arrived everyone was out of the house thanks to
Amy, but mum Michelle and Amy's four-year-old brother Sean Junior
were both taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
Amy said: "I am happy everyone is okay now but everyone needs to
know not to play with matches because it could have been
Michelle added: "All the children have really benefited from the
visit to the fire station and since the fire I can tell the younger
ones know not to play with fire.
"We used to talk about it but this has changed things and
they've all learnt more about it and Sean even backs away when he
sees me light the oven now."
GMFRS has been developing extensive school education resources
to make children of all ages aware of fire safety.
As part of this, GMFRS' Children and Young People department is
preparing to launch its new FireSmart programme.
This is a free, confidential service which will see trained
staff working with young people in their own homes from an early
stage to raise awareness of the dangers fire setting.
Kathryn Aylett from GMFRS' Children and Young People department
said: "It's difficult to get across to a young person the
consequences of their actions and how serious they can be.
"We're developing FireSmart to work with young people aged 17 or
younger to reduce the risk of harm through active discussion about
the dangers of fire."
For further information on FireSmart,
If you are concerned about a child or young person who is
involved in fire setting behaviour, please contact GMFRS on 0800