The Malta Independent 25 June 2017, Sunday

Firefighter with Maltese surname praised by British media for saving lives in Grenfell Tower blaze

Monday, 19 June 2017, 17:24 Last update: about 5 days ago

Just five days into the job, April Cachia, 26, a firefighter, is being praised by British media for helping save residents who were attempting to escape the tragic blaze at Grenfell Tower in London last week.

Although the surname is typically Maltese, this newspaper has so far not been able to verify whether she has Maltese connections. 

Although it was her first search and rescue, Cachia succeeded in helping more than 20 people escape the flames. Seventy-nine people died in the blaze.

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Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she said that the tragedy happened straight after she completed her 11-week training course. 

The Evening Standard reported that it was the first time that Cachia had "seen actual flames".

She told The Daily Telegraph "the smell of smoke, the sound of crackling, the sound of debris hitting the ground, children screaming, people handing you their phones to speak to their loved ones - they're the things you won't ever forgot.

We were told that it was a 40 pump fire, which means 40 fire engines needed to be at the scene. "That's such a rare occurrence that we kind of all just looked at each other and thought 'wow'. I didn't have anything to compare it to - this was the first proper job really where I have seen actual flames."

She said "Although I'm only 26, I'm quite headstrong and will be able to get through this. I can deal with it and move on, once I've cried about it enough."

Jon Wharnsby, a Fire Brigades Union station rep at the Shoreditch station spoke to The Mail on Sunday about Cachia, telling them that he "grabbed her helmet, looked her in the eyes and repeated 'slow and steady wins the race'."

Cachia lives in London with her mother and brother.

The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mirror and ITV News, amongst others, were all taken aback by her story and published articles about her.

 

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