An eight-year-old boy from Adelaide became the youngest firefighter to join South Australia’s Metropolitan Fire Service.
Alex Tann’s dream of becoming the ‘best firefighter ever’ came true when he saved Beehive Corner in Rundle Mall from ‘burning down’ in a simulation yesterday.
Alex wore a custom-made firefighters uniform when he made his grand entrance into Adelaide’s shopping precinct aboard a Metropolitan Fire Service fire truck.
Smoke billowed out of a window of a building ‘on fire’ on Beehive Corner with Port Adelaide Football Club captain Travis Boak and Adelaide Football Club’s Erin Phillips ‘trapped’ inside.
Alex was lifted metres into the air in a rescue cage to put the fire out and save the football stars.
When the dramatic rescue was all over Alex was given a special presentation and presented with a chief officer’s badge and trophy.
But it was hotdogs that were on the young boy’s mind.
‘I want to take my boots off,’ the tired eight-year-old declared.
Metropolitan Fire Service chief officer Greg Crossman, who presented Alex with a chief officer’s badge and trophy, said he was happy to hand over his title to Alex for the day.
‘He was amazing – not just the best firefighter ever, I think he’s the best chief officer ever,’ the veteran fire officer said.
Alex was three years old when he was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer, which left him permanently blind. His parents, Phil and Jo, were told it was unlikely he would live beyond the age of four.
Alex’s proud father, Phil Tann, said the support they had received was ‘absolutely mind-blowing’.
‘I got so emotional seeing the sheer volume of people lining the streets for Alex.
‘This is my little boy and these people are out here to support him. It really has been such a wild ride. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster I didn’t expect,’ he told the Adelaide Advertiser.
The event attracted thousands of people who came to see Alex assume the role of chief fire officer.
A personalised plaque was made and written in braille, declaring Alex the ‘best firefighter ever.’
Premier Jay Weatherill presented a cheque for $20,000 to the Childhood Cancer Association.
‘I think today we have seen bravery the likes of which we are never likely to see in Adelaide ever again,’ he said.
Lord Mayor Martin Haese also presented Alex with the City of Adelaide Official Crest – a medal he said they ‘don’t give out very often’.
The Mayor told the crowd that recipients needed to demonstrate ‘bravery and courage’.
‘I think he has probably got that in absolute spades,’ he said.
‘The turnout has been incredible,’ said the Port Adelaide Football Club captain.
Funds of $20,000 were raised for the Childhood Cancer Association.
Source: Daily Mail