South Yorkshire schoolgirl honoured for saving her family from house blaze

Ellie Taylor with Phil Shillito
Ellie Taylor with Phil Shillito

A girl who saved the lives of her mum, dad, twin brother and little sister after realising their home was on fire has been honoured for her efforts.

Ellie Taylor, who was 11 at the time, heard a smoke alarm sounding while the rest of her family slept and alerted her mum and dad to the emergency.

Her parents Gail and David woke up Ellie’s twin, Brad and younger sister Gracie, then four, and the family ventured downstairs to find their home engulfed in thick, black smoke.

They managed to escape from the burning house before flames ripped through the entire downstairs.

The blaze in December 2013 started in the utility room of the house on Coniston Road, Oakwell, Barnsley, after the fridge freezer developed an electrical fault.

It caused so much damage to the property Ellie and her family were only able to move back in last month - 13 months after the fire.

Firefighters honoured Ellie’s life-saving efforts during a ceremony at Barnsley fire station, where she was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation

Area Manager Phil Shillito, who presented the award, said: “It’s important to recognise the actions of this young girl whose quick thinking helped save her family.

“As this incident proves it is vital that homes have working smoke alarms and all family members are aware of the escape plan for the home.”

Ellie had closed all the downstairs doors in the house before going to bed on the night of the blaze - containing the spread of the flames.

She had been taught about fire safety when she was a pupil at Queens Road Academy and during a visit to the Lifewise Centre in Rotherham, where the police and fire service hand out personal safety advice to children as part of the Crucial Crew project.

Ellie’s proud mum Gail Taylor said: “I am so proud of Ellie, it was lovely to see her receive her certificate for her actions on that awful night.

“We are really really proud of her but she doesn’t really realise the enormity of what she did that night.

“The firefighters who came out that said if it had not been for Ellie’s quick thinking we probably wouldn’t have been speaking to them that night. They said it was rare for people to survive a fire like that.

“Ellie is our angel.”

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