Hero bus driver reunited with man he saved from burning building in Braintree

Acting chief fire officer Adam Eckley with Andy Waterman, along with Mitch Cook and a Braintree fire

Acting chief fire officer Adam Eckley with Andy Waterman, along with Mitch Cook and a Braintree fire crew - Credit: Archant

A man saved from a burning building by a hero bus driver has been reunited with his rescuer.

Mitch Cook was on the third storey of a building on Braintree High Street when the blaze took hold on the evening of February 11.

But passing First Bus driver Andy Waterman, who was on his way back to the depot, pulled his double decker bus alongside the building allowing Mr Cook to jump to safety on the roof of the bus, where he was then rescued by the fire brigade.

Mr Waterman was this week presented with a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for his efforts, and got the chance to meet Mr Cook.

Mr Cook said: “I had just got into the shower when the smoke alarm started going off.

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“I looked up and saw smoke coming under the bathroom door. I opened the door and there was thick smoke everywhere and there was no way I could get down the stairs to escape.

“I ran the only direction I could which was up and to a window and then I was stuck. I was in the window thinking I would have to jump three storeys down then the bus arrived.

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“It was only a couple of minutes but it felt like a lifetime up there.

“It was great to see Andy again this morning. I just wanted to shake his hand and say thank you for saving my life.

“He came along at just the right time and if it hadn’t been for him I don’t think I would be here today.”

Mr Waterman said: “I was driving down the High Street at the end of my shift when people started flagging me down and pointing to a burning building where I could see a man was trapped up on the third floor.

“I pulled up next to the building and he jumped. It was at least five feet out and ten feet down so it was a big jump by Mitch but he made it.

“It’s been really good to meet Mitch and have a chance to get to know him. We’ve had a really good chat this morning and I’m just glad that I was there at the right time to be able to help.”

The bus driver was given his award by Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley from the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Mr Eckley said: “If it hadn’t been for Andy this could have had a tragic outcome. Andy‘s actions that evening were remarkable and it gives me great pleasure to present this Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation to him.

“Our crews are trained to deal with situations like this but despite the fact that Andy hasn’t had any of that training he did the right thing at the right time and saved a man’s life.”

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