Tributes to firefighters who died in flats fire

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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RELATIVES and colleagues were today to pay tribute to two firefighters who died in a flats blaze.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was to hold a two-minute silence in memory of Alan Bannon, 35, and Jim Shears, 38, at 11am, on the anniversary of their deaths.

Flags were to be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect to the two men who died fighting the fire at 15-storey Shirley Towers in Southampton.

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

Chief Officer John Bonney was to join Red Watch at St Mary’s station in Southampton – Mr Bannon and Mr Shears’ watch – for the two-minute silence. In a statement, Red Watch said: ‘We will never be able to replace “Bert” and “Britney”.

‘They each brought very different things to Red Watch and we miss them a lot. We will always miss them. But what they did both bring was bravery and courage and we will always be proud of them and think about the lives they saved on that tragic night.’