Heroic Lorry Driver Stories

By: Lyall Cresswell

Perhaps it's because of their no-nonsense attitude, or maybe it is just because there are so many of them on the road, but when they aren't busy working on various haulage jobs many lorry drivers seem to moonlight as have-a-go heroes. Whenever a member of the public is hailed as a hero for rescuing those in danger, more often than not it turns out to be a lorry driver, or so it seems, and in the best stories, the lorry plays as big a part as the driver in the rescue.

The Dog Whisperer

Les Petch, a lorry driver who lives in Darlington, saved the life of a ten year old boy who was being savaged by a bull mastiff in May 2008. The boy was playing on a patch of grass on the Darlington Red Hall Estate when the dog began to bite and maul him. Les heard the commotion, rushed out, subdued the dog and then sat on it until help arrived. Les was bitten in the stomach, and the boy required a number of skin grafts after the serious attack. "I managed to coax the dog off the kid by shouting at it," Les said. "When it started to run at me I just thought, 'what am I doing?' But it was either me or the dog - and it wasn't going to be me."

"Delivery at any time, any place, and in any weather..."

Lee Hall, a lorry driver in West Yorkshire, earned a special commendation from firefighters after he helped rescue sixteen people during the floods in January 2008. With fire crews stretched thin and struggling to rescue people trapped in their homes, Lee reversed his lorry past a row of flooded houses, allowing fire fighters to lift trapped residents on to his trailer. Modest in the response to praise from fire crews, Lee commented "It's not like I rescued anyone from a burning building. I'd do it again."

Fight fire with lorry

Now for someone who DID save people from a burning building! Quick thinking from a lorry driver (and an unconventional use of his lorry trailer) helped to save two people from a burning restaurant in September 2004.

After a deep fat fryer caused a blaze at a KFC in Horsham, two people were left trapped in the flat above the restaurant and were preparing to jump into the street. The lorry driver, parked across the road and in the middle of a haulage job, quickly reversed beneath the window, giving them a soft landing on the canvas roof of his trailer.

Red hot delivery

Another fire related story to finish up with! Whilst waiting at a set of traffic lights in March 2007, a lorry driver hauling crushed cars and scrap metal was informed by a member of the public that his trailer seemed to be on fire, with smoke billowing out of the back of his lorry. The lorry driver calmly drove to a nearby fire station, but the fire was burning deep in a pile of scrap metal and firefighters were unable to extinguish it. Unruffled, the lorry driver, with the help of a police escort, drove his lorry to its original destination, the Norton scrapyard in Liverpool, where cranes pulled apart the trailer and fire crews finally managed to put out the blaze.

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