Staple Hill remembers firefighter Fleur 

STAPLE Hill residents joined with firefighters past and present to remember Fleur Lombard, who lost her life tackling a blaze at a Staple Hill supermarket.

Fleur was just 21 when she was killed at the Co-op Leo’s store in Broad Street, which had been set alight by an arsonist, on February 4 1996.

She died as a result of the intense heat when she was caught in a flashover, where all the exposed flammable material suddenly ignited inside the building.

Each year on the anniversary of her death a ceremony is held at 11am at the memorial which stands opposite the supermarket, which was rebuilt and is now occupied by Tesco.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service area manager Vaughan Jenkins read the Firefighter’s Prayer and led a minute’s silence in memory of the only female firefighter to die on duty in peacetime Britain.

He then read the citation for the Queen’s Gallantry Medal awarded to Fleur and the George Medal awarded to her colleague Robert Seaman, for their actions in going in to the burning building, where it was feared workers or shoppers might be trapped.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Shilton, who was one of the firefighters called to the blaze that claimed Fleur’s life, said: “The local community still remember, along with representatives from the supermarket.

“It’s fantastic that, more than 20 years on, the memory still lives on.”

John Terry, who was the chief fire officer and in charge of the operation on the day of the blaze, represented Fleur’s parents, who are now in their 80s and live in North Yorkshire.

He said: “I’m pleased to represent them, and they think it’s tremendous that the people of Staple Hill still remember.

“It’s fantastic to see the number of people that turn up here still.”

Terry and Fleur’s father Roger run a bursary fund in her memory, to encourage firefighters to travel and learn about the work of other fire services in the UK, Europe and worldwide.