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Rail worker foils fire tanker

A railway worker has been praised for helping avert a disaster.

A burning oil tanker had crashed into the side of a bungalow and was at risk of exploding, endangering a nearby primary school. Darren Fletcher jumped into the cab of the burning oil tanker and reversed it away from a house.

‘The valves on the tanker had been undone and the passenger side was already on fire,’ says Darren who lives in Wareham, Dorset and works for Balfour Beatty Rail. ‘The engine was still running so I jumped in the cab and reversed the truck away from the bungalow. It’s terrifying now to think what could have happened.’

Police later arrested a 51 year old man who had fled the scene and was apparently the driver of the tanker. Fire fighters rushed to the scene and it took an hour to bring the blaze under control. Darren Fletcher had just taken his daughter to school when he realised what was happening in Folly Lane, Wool, and made his brave bid to save the occupants of the bungalow.

‘It was all on fire when I got there but all I could think was that it could all go up at any second. It was so near to the school. I knew the children were in danger and instinct just kicked in.

The keys were in the engine and I got in and reversed it away from the house which was on fire from the inside. I knew that there was an obvious danger and that the tanker could have gone up because the passenger seat next to me was on fire.’

Darren was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. ‘I’m not a hero, I don’t want to be called one. I was just in the right place at the right time and I did what I thought was best. I would do the same again,’ Mr Fletcher added.

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