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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 06:59 GMT
Condolence book for firefighters

An online book of condolence and a Warwickshire Firefighters Families Fund has been set up following the fatal warehouse fire.

The bodies of three firefighters have now been removed from the wreckage of a huge warehouse fire in Warwickshire. Another firefighter died in hospital.

Among the first to record a tribute were staff at Handsworth Community Fire Safety Centre in the West Midlands.

The sacrifices would not be in vain, the message said.

"Be assured that your sacrifice is not in vain as the lives of firefighters yet to serve will be saved through your actions and lessons learned," they said.

'Fitting memorial'

Former Warwickshire firefighter Terry Healey wrote: " It brings home how fragile life is.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of the men who lost their lives. May the unity of the fire service help all the families through their grieving."

The first donation to the online fund was made within five minutes of it going live.

Councillor Richard Hobbs, of Warwickshire County Council, said it was set up for those who wished to make a contribution to the families of the firefighters involved.

"The fund will also help to provide a fitting memorial at a later date."

Tributes were also paid to the firefighters in the House of Commons, immediately after the Queens Speech, on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was would wish to send their condolences to the families of the firefighters involved.

"Being in the fire service means that you never know what moment you will be called upon to extraordinary and heroic action.

"The British people are privileged to have been served by firemen who showed such courage and dedication," he said.

The bodies of Darren Yates-Badley, 24, Ashley Stephens, 20, and John Averis, have now been recovered from the wreckage.

Another firefighter Ian Reid, 44, died in hospital.