Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Following today’s fire in Reading town centre, I would like to add my thanks to the crane operator for an incredibly skilful rescue under extremely difficult circumstances. Without their actions, we may be looking at an entirely different scenario.
“On behalf of the Service, I would like to extend our best wishes to the two people who were rescued from the building and wish them a speedy recovery.
“At the height of the fire, more than 50 of our firefighters and Officers attended the scene rapidly and worked quickly and aggressively, with support from Police, Ambulance and other partners to extinguish the fire, which, as you can see from the footage had developed into a substantial fire.
“Thank you for the professionalism and dedication shown by all responders, as well as members of the Reading community for your patience and messages of support.”
Councillor Jeff Brooks, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said: “On behalf of the Fire Authority, I would like to commend the bravery of the crane operator for an incredibly skilful rescue under extremely difficult circumstances, aided by two team members who guided him during the rescue. Without their actions, we may be looking at an entirely different outcome.
“We extend our best wishes to the two people who were rescued from the building. We understand that following brief treatment at Royal Berkshire Hospital, they are now at home, safe and well.
“I also would like to offer my sincere thanks to our crews who attended yesterday’s incident in central Reading. Our firefighters were quick to respond to the incident, arriving in under five minutes and worked very efficiently to get the fire under control – this is another great example of the professionalism and dedication of our staff.
“I would also like to praise the actions of our partners at Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service and Reading Borough Council who worked alongside our firefighters to swiftly respond to this incident.
“Thank you also to the community in Reading for their support and understanding during this time.”
For further information about the fire, please visit the incident page.