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Reading fire: Crane operator hailed for 'skilful rescue' of workman engulfed by flames and thick smoke

Reading fire: Crane operator hailed for 'skilful rescue' of workman engulfed by flames and thick smoke

A hero crane operator who rescued a workman from a dramatic blaze in Reading has been praised for his actions.

Crane operator Glen Edwards used a cage to rescue a workman from large flames at the city’s Station Hill development site after a fire broke out on Thursday.

The Fire Brigade said: “Without their actions, we may be looking at an entirely different scenario."

Wayne Bowcock, chief fire officer at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “I would like to add my thanks to the crane operator for an incredibly skilful rescue under extremely difficult circumstances."

However, modest Mr Edwards, who had been working at the site, told the media: “I don't want to blow it up too much, I'm not that sort of person.”

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Footage showed the moment he used the winch he was operating to move a cage towards a workman trapped on the building surrounded by flames and thick smoke.

Crowds below broke out in applause as the man was lifted in the air.

Smoke rises as the fire breaks out in a building in Reading (Tom Canning via REUTERS)
Smoke rises as the fire breaks out in a building in Reading (Tom Canning via REUTERS)

Mr Edwards, 65, from Egham, Surrey, said: “I was no more than 20 metres up in the air and I looked out my left-hand window and saw a guy standing on the corner of the building.

“I'd only just seen him and someone said 'can you get the cage on', so that was it, I got the cage on and got it over to him the best I could.

“It was quite windy conditions."

He added: “I would say it was a very close call, if you look at the video at the way the wind was swirling around there."

"I tried to put the cage down between him and the flames, but I was hampered by the wind swirling around there.

"But I got the cage down and I managed to get him in there."

Another man was also lifted from the building by crane, firefighters have said.

The £750 million Station Hill development, close to Reading station, is intended to be a business and living quarter for the town.