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Praise for the Worker who saved Buses from Fire

A Bus company worker was praised for his bravery after fire destroyed eight coaches early on Sunday morning.

Vehicles worth 500,000 were burned out at Jeff's coach depot at Helmdon - and the damage would have been worse if it had not been for the firm's night duty manager Bill Grendall, and the alertness of a village resident.

The resident raised the alarm around 2am when she saw flames leaping from the bus garages in Old Station Yard, Helmdon.

Mr Grendall dashed from Banbury and drove seven coaches away from the danger area.

Brackley fire fighters were already there trying to douse the flames.

Mr Dick Winter, Jeff's general manager, said: "Bill bravely moved the seven buses to safety but we still lost eight - including two that were less than a year old".

He said: "Fire investigators and scenes of crime officers have been here, but the damage is so bad that they could not pinpoint the cause of the blaze. It could have been an electrical fault, arson, or a prank that went wrong.

Things would have been a lot worse if it hadn't been for the observant resident, whose house overlooks our garages, and for Bill's prompt action."

Mr Winter added: "There was no damage to any other property and it will be business as usual for us. The holiday touring season has not started and we are managing to keep services running".

The Banbury Cake - 17th Jan 2002
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