Family, saved from a fatal fire in Aberystwyth, thank Crews

Richard Simnett, Caroline Latham with their sons and Aberystwyth crew
Richard Simnett, Caroline Latham with their sons and Aberystwyth crew

In August of this year, Ceredigion Command welcomed Mr Richard Simnett, Miss Caroline Latham and their two sons to Aberystwyth Fire Station.


In the early hours of Wednesday, 25th July 2018, the family were rescued from the roof of the Tŷ Belgrave House Hotel, a 4-storey building, during a fire which had engulfed the whole building and tragically took the life of one of its guests, Juozas Tunaitis.


The family were saved by the brave and prompt actions of the Crews in attendance that evening, specifically those from Station 21, Aberystwyth, who affected the rescue of Caroline and her two children with the Ariel Appliance. Unfortunately, this wasn’t before Richard had fallen to the ground and sustained severe injuries, after placing his family in a safe position outside a 4th-floor dormer window, which was situated on the roof.


The family’s visit to Aberystwyth Station, this summer, was an opportunity for them to finally meet the Crew that had saved their lives that evening, a chance to say thank you and the ability to hear an account of the events, from the other side of their remarkable story, by the crews involved. 


It was also an opportunity for them to meet Crew Manager Nigel Bowden, the cage operator of the Aerial Appliance, who manoeuvred the apparatus into a position that ensured a safe transfer from roof to cage.  This had to be done twice, with the children, boys Isaac and Sam, aged 5 and 4 at the time, removed first, before returning up to retrieve their mother, Caroline.


As a result of his fall, Richard Simnett sustained severe injuries that have resulted in a long physical rehabilitation journey, which is still ongoing. However, the family are hopeful that the visit will help them in their broader healing process, following their ordeal on that evening. 


Caroline Latham wished to say, “We want to say a massive thank you to all the staff at Aberystwyth fire station and beyond especially Nigel (Bowden). We appreciate all you did for our family. We are pleased to have the opportunity to see you in person, hear your experiences of the night and to say a heartfelt thank you”.