Plaque to be unveiled for last West Yorkshire firefighter to die on active duty

A plaque is set to be unveiled for the last West Yorkshire firefighter to die on active duty.

By Daniel Sheridan
Friday, 5th July 2019, 3:41 pm
Jeff Naylor.
Jeff Naylor.

On 10 July 1983, 36 years ago, firefighter Jeff Naylor died as a result of burns injuries sustained at a house fire in Keighley more than two months earlier.

He was the last serving firefighter in West Yorkshire to die on active duty and is still remembered as a hero in the county.

The Fire Brigades Union will unveil a red plaque dedicated to fallen firefighter Jeff Naylor in Lund Park, Keighley, at 11:00 on Sunday July 7th, 2019.

The ceremony will be followed by a reception and film screening at the Kirkgate Centre, Shipley from 12:00pm-17:00pm.

On 27 April 1983, Keighley fire station’s white watch responded to a call to a domestic fire in Broomhill Walk, with five children trapped inside the house.

All were rescued, but two sadly died from injuries.

In his statement to West Yorkshire Police, from his hospital bed, firefighter Jeff Naylor recalled the following details: “I picked up the child and suddenly there was a flashover and all went red. I was knocked over and fell downstairs because of the blast. I picked the child up again but there was another blast and I lost hold of her.

"I staggered downstairs and must have gone into the room where the fire was because I felt myself burning.”

Jeff was found collapsed in the hallway covered in flames clutching the young girl and he was helped out of the house.

He fought for his life in the burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Jeff succumbed to his injuries 10 weeks later in July.

Given a funeral with full fire service honours, approximately 1,000 firefighters attended from across the country as his coffin - draped in a Union Jack flag was carried on a turntable ladder to St Joseph’s Church - only some 200 yards from the scene of the fire.

To commemorate Jeff’s bravery, the FBU is erecting a special red plaque in Lund Park in Keighley, just a short walk from the scene of the fire, and organising a special screening of The Firefighters’ Story.