Two-minute silence to remember firefighters

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FIREFIGHTERS will hold a two-minute silence to mark the first anniversary of the tragic deaths of two colleagues in a flats blaze.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will pay tribute to Alan Bannon, 35, and Jim Shears, 38, by observing the silence from 11am next Wednesday.

It will mark a year since the firefighters died while fighting the huge blaze, which started on the seventh floor of a 15-storey block of flats at Shirley Towers in Church Street, Southampton.

All residents were rescued after about 20 fire engines were called to the scene to help tackle the fire.

Members of Red Watch at St Mary’s station in Southampton – Mr Bannon and Mr Shears’ watch – are to observe the two-minute silence at their station before laying flowers at the memorial stone at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Eastleigh later that day. Flags will be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.

Chief Officer John Bonney said: ‘As we move towards the one-year anniversary of the tragic fire, we pause to reflect on the year and pay tribute to our lost colleagues.

‘Since the incident we have moved forward as a service and focus on new challenges, but Jim and Alan and their families will forever remain in our thoughts.’

Visit hantsfire.gov.uk to leave a message on the online condolence book.