AN OFF-DUTY firefighter who crawled into a neighbour’s flat to save a disabled man is to receive a national award for her bravery.
Nicola Hercher, 38, of 20 Croyard Park, Beauly, has been awarded a Royal Humane Society Testimonial on Parchment after the daring rescue on October 23.
Miss Hercher, known as Nikki, carried out the rescue in her slippers after being alerted to the fire in the flat below her home by shouts from local woman Pat Bruce, who was walking her dog.
Ms Hercher has already been awarded the chief fire officer’s commendation for her actions.
The flat was full of black smoke when she went to investigate and she had to crawl inside and drag the occupant out.
Afterwards her pager went off and she went to the fire station to turn out with colleagues to fight the fire.
Miss Hercher won personal praise from the society’s secretary, Dick Wilkinson, as he announced the award at its London headquarters.
He said: “Miss Hercher showed what a tremendous asset she is to the fire service by carrying out this rescue, without equipment, while she was off-duty.
“She was at home when a neighbour reported a fire in the flat immediately below hers. She first reported the fire and then entered the flat, to be met by dense smoke.
“Below the smoke, however, she could see that the male occupant was lying in the hall just outside the kitchen. She went in and pulled him to safety.
“It is likely that he would not have survived were it not for her bravery and fast actions.”
No date has yet been set for the presentation of the award, made on the recommendation of Northern Constabulary.