Multi-million pound pay-out for firefighter

Nicholas Owen, Jane Moore, Steve Morris, Simon Weston ' Beneficiary of Courage Award winner at The Fire Fighters Charity - Spirit of Fire Awards 2009
Nicholas Owen, Jane Moore, Steve Morris, Simon Weston ' Beneficiary of Courage Award winner at The Fire Fighters Charity - Spirit of Fire Awards 2009

A hero firefighter who suffered 50 per cent burns in a deadly arson attack has been awarded a £2.2m pay-out.

Steve Morris, from Chorley, nearly died trying to save a four-year-old girl and her grandmother from the blaze in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

He was engulfed in a terrifying fireball as he fought to rescue little Alana Mian and 71-year-old Hameeda Begum from their family home five years ago. Nobody has ever been brought to justice for their deaths.

Now Steve – who was awarded the fire service’s highest bravery award for his actions – has settled a landmark compensation claim with the fire service.

One insider said it was the biggest pay-out they had seen for ‘many, many years’.

Steve was 38 when the Greenwatch at Bolton Central fire station answered a 999 call to Little Holme Walk, Great Lever, in June 2008.

The crew found a family home in flames with Alana asleep inside, along with her gran and mum Saima Mian.

Investigators later found the fire was sparked deliberately in a wheelie bin – before spreading to the gas supply.

Steve was among four firefighters who raced into the house in a bid to save the family, but found himself overwhelmed by a massive gas explosion.

Witnesses described how he fled the building like a ‘human fireball’, his clothing and boots melted by the heat. His horrific injuries – which required extensive skin grafts – kept him in hospital for months after the blaze, ending his career.

Steve, who had been a firefighter for 12 years, received the highest individual honour possible – the County Fire Officer’s Commendation.

After years of negotiation, Manchester-based solicitors Thompson’s have now settled his compensation claim, which recognises the scale of the injuries he sustained while at work – and their effective ending of his career.

The fire service, which regularly makes pay-outs to officers for injuries sustained in the line of duty, declined to comment.

Following the blaze five people were initially arrested on suspicion of a range of offences, including murder and witness intimidation. No charges were ever brought.

An inquest into the fire, held in 2010, found Alana and her grandmother had been unlawfully killed.

Greater Manchester fire service declined to comment.