‘I got that adrenaline shock and felt like I was really helping’
A TEENAGE Fire Service cadet has described the ‘adrenaline-pumping’ moment he was called on to help crews tackle a blaze at a St Helier pizzeria on Monday.
Hautlieu student Kobi Le Cornu was passing through town on his way home from his part-time job at the Airport when he was flagged down by a senior firefighter and asked to assist with a fire that was ripping through Pizzeria Romana at Charing Cross.
The then 17-year-old, who celebrated his 18th birthday this week, helped by filling up a fire engine at the scene with water from a hydrant and then adjusting the hose pressure for firefighters on the frontline before retained crews arrived.
Mr Le Cornu, who has been a Fire and Rescue Service cadet for 6½ years, said: ‘I was on my way home from work and saw smoke, so changed my normal route to have a look. When I got there I saw a firefighter I recognised and then he flagged me over to give a hand.
‘I was tapping the hydrant and dragging the hose from the appliance to the hydrant and plugging it in.
‘Then I turned the water on and had to fill the appliance up.
‘I got that adrenaline shock but it was all fine and I was thinking “this is great – it really feels like I am helping.’’ I then got the wave to go to the back of one of the engines – still well away from the fire – and then the adrenaline was really going. It’s the first time I have ever been in a real situation like that before and although I wasn’t close to the fire, it was a live scenario. I was operating the pump itself and had to keep an eye on the pressure and make sure everything was running OK. I saw a signal to increase the pressure and I did it.’
Firefighters are still working to establish the cause of the blaze. Pizzeria Romana’s owner of almost 30 years, Tony Pigliacelli, said: ‘If we do come back from this it is going to take a long time’.
Parts of York Street and Broad Street remained closed to day-time traffic yesterday while work to secure the area continued.
Mr Le Cornu, the son of Marc Le Cornu, who left the Fire and Rescue Service after almost 28 years last month, said his long-term goal was to be a commercial pilot but added that he had always been interested in the Fire and Rescue Service and was considering applying for a full-time role when recruitment reopened.
‘I never imagined when I woke up that morning that I’d have done what I did,’ he said. ‘Mike Baudains, who was the commander on the day, spoke to me and passed on his thanks, which felt good.’
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