Former Whaley Bridge firefighter who died tackling Bristol supermarket blaze remembered on anniversary

Today is 26 years since a former Whaley Bridge firefighter tragically died in the line of duty.

Former Derbyshire firefighter Fleur Lombard, who died 26 years ago.
Former Derbyshire firefighter Fleur Lombard, who died 26 years ago.

Fleur Lombard began her fire service career in Whaley Bridge before moving to Avon Fire Brigade, now known as Avon Fire and Rescue Service.

On Thursday, February 4, 1996, Avon Fire Brigade was called to reports of a serious blaze in Leo’s supermarket in the Staple Hill area of Bristol.

Fleur, who was just 21-years-old at the time, was one of only eight women employed by Avon Fire Brigade.

She was sadly killed as a direct result of the intense heat.

Her body was found by other firefighters just yards from the exit.

Having graduated in 1994 with the Silver Axe award for most outstanding recruit on her training school, Fleur was the only female firefighter to die on duty in peacetime Britain.

She was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal and Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation in recognition of her bravery.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Today we remember Fleur.

“Our thoughts go out to Fleur’s family, friends and former colleagues.”

A spokesperson for Avon Fire and Rescue Service added: “Fleur’s loss is keenly felt across the service to this day and it is something we will never forget.

“This tragic loss goes to show just how dangerous our profession is and that it can take the best of us.

“Fire does not distinguish, just like we don’t distinguish when we answer the call.

“Unfortunately, some pay the ultimate sacrifice but we will never forget her and will ensure that her memory lives on.”