Express & Star

Heroic firefighter rescues boy left hanging by HIS EAR from fifth-floor window

A boy was left precariously hanging from the fifth-floor window of a tower block by just his ears forcing fire crews to mount one of their most challenging ever rescues.

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The tower block. Photo courtesy of @WestMidsFire.

One firefighter said they had 'never been so scared' as they tried to help the boy stranded around 40ft-up with almost his whole body hanging from the window.

A heroic firefighter had to stand on the last rung of the crew's tallest ladder to retrieve the child and bring him down to safety.

The boy was rescued by firefighters at Glendale Tower, Beechmount Drive, in Erdington, at around 4pm on Thursday.

Fire officers learned that the boy had tried to retrieve something which had fallen from the window, but somehow fell.

Luckily, he was only prevented from falling out completely by his head becoming wedged in the window, by his ear.

He was hanging for around six minutes before the alarm was raised.

The fire crew, from Erdington, called the incident "an extremely challenging rescue."

The crew arrived in just two minutes and nine seconds and used a 13.5metre (44ft) ladder to try and reach the boy.

Wayne Little, station commander, revealed how initially, the ladder could not reach the 5th floor window where the child was hanging by his neck.

So the crew had to re-pitch the ladder beyond it normal safety limits in order to increase the reach.

He said: "The ladder was still not able to quite reach the window, but a brave firefighter - crew commander Lyndon Flavell - climbed the ladder to its limits, and stood on the top rungs of the ladder, in order to rescue the boy.

"Helpful members of the public assisted the firefighters to steady the ladder while the firefighter performed the rescue. A member of the public later required oxygen therapy, due to shock from this traumatic incident.

"I spoke to the watch commander in charge of the crew later, who was still visibly shaken. He told me that in the 30 years of his service, he had never been so scared."

Tweeting shortly after the incident, @WestMidsFire said: "Today we had to work to our absolute limits. 5yr boy hanging by his neck from a 5th floor window, the bravery shown by the FF who climbed the ladder is immeasurable @ErdingtonFire @WestMidsFire."

A member of the public was given oxygen due to the shock of watching the rescue unfold.

Reflecting on the incident, station commander Little said on Saturday: "This incident was one of those once in a career rescues that saw our brave firefighters perform beyond expectations and push the limits of their technical skills to the maximum, to prevent a tragedy.

"I believe in the heroism and bravery of our firefighters.

"It is so important to raise awareness of keeping safe, not only from fire in high rise buildings, but also from other potential hazards."

The boy's family has since been rehoused.