Brave trio praised for car fire heroics
THREE men who saved two brothers from a burning car have been recognised for their bravery.
Aaron Pugh, Chris Stokes and David Williams, of Congleton, travelled to Downing Street on Friday after they were shortlisted for the Fire Fighters Charity 2012 Spirit of Fire Awards.
The trio were nominated after they managed to rescue identical twins Mark and Simon Tonks, from Alsager, who had become trapped in their car following a crash along the A34 in April.
Aaron, of Biddulph, was travelling behind the twins when the accident happened.
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The 19-year-old, who took a tour of Number 10 before Friday's awards ceremony, said: "I was following them for about three miles when I saw the car swerve and crash into a tree.
"I just jumped out of my car and ran across the road, I didn't know what else to do.
"Simon was moving so I got him out first and then I ran around to Mark who was completely stuck.
"I couldn't get him out. I was trying everything to free him because I could see the flames getting closer."
The mechanic added: "I just wanted to get them out so when we finally got them free I just felt relieved."
The men, who narrowly missed out on the award in the Adult Public Hero category at the ceremony held at London's Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, took just eight minutes to free Mark moments before the car was engulfed by flames.
The twins were then taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire where Mark was given treatment for burns on his back, shoulders and head as well as a shattered scapula. Simon was treated for a spinal injury.
Twenty five-year-old Chris Stokes, of Rode Heath, was on his way home from work on Easter Sunday when he pulled in to help.
The gardener said: "When I saw it was on fire I started panicking a bit.
"I tried to get Mark and I just remember someone passing me a little fire extinguisher, so I tried to put out the flames but that didn't work so I just concentrated on getting them out.
"To be honest, I didn't think they were going to get out alive.
"The fire was ferocious. I've never felt something so hot.
"At the time I didn't think about anything else, I didn't think about the consequences. Nothing went through my mind – I just wanted to get them out."
Chris added: "The ceremony was really moving. We were told all of the stories about what people had done, so it was quite emotional.
"I was very happy to be nominated but I only did what anyone else would have done."
Forty-six-year-old Mark, who along with Simon has made a full recovery, believes the men deserve all the recognition they can get.
He said: "They are all extremely deserving and the fact that they have been recognised in these awards shows what a brave thing they all did.
"To me they are heroes, so even if they didn't win the award, to me, they as good as did."
Simon added: "If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here today.
"And out of a very nasty accident I am glad to have made three very good, life-long friends."