A FIREFIGHTER has been commended for bravery after a dramatic motorway rescue.

At just before 9pm on August 13, Gareth Houghton, a crew manager at Whitefield Community Fire Station, was one of dozens of emergency service personnel who rushed out to reports of a girl in danger on the Bury New Road pedestrian bridge.

The 19-year-old girl had climbed security measures along the outside of the cage ­— which runs the length of the bridge, spanning the M60 at Junction 17 between Whitefield and Prestwich ­— and was in danger of falling into the carriageway below.

As a hydraulic platform was sent for from Manchester Central Fire Station, two police officers reached the girl, who was very agitated, and attempted to help her.

The situation looked dire, however to avert any further harm coming to the girl, Mr Houghton strapped on a harness and ropes, and climbed onto the outside of the bridge.

After reaching the girl, he remained with her for more than half an hour, until the hydraulic platform arrived and brought them both to safety.

Last week Mr Houghton was presented with a commendation for his actions, by the assistant chief fire officer at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Leon Parkes.

Mr Houghton, who has been in the fire service for 10 years and lives in Clitheroe with his partner and two step children, was modest about his bravery and the commendation.

He said: "It is brilliant to be recognised but this was a team effort really, and if it hadn't been for the quick thinking of the PCSOs and members of the public it could have ended badly.

"I have been involved in incidents like this before, but sometimes the outcomes are not as good and people have lost their lives, so it was nice to see there was a positive outcome this time."

Mr Parkes said: “This incident represents the dedication and commitment of our Service to the communities within Greater Manchester.

“Gareth acted above and beyond his role as a crew manager to protect the 19-year-old girl by putting on the harness from the rope rescue pack and climbing out onto the outside of the bridge to prevent the girl from falling down to the motorway below.

“Gareth’s actions and professionalism on the night showed a lot of courage and dedication, which contributed in this incident having a happy ending. Thank you Gareth for your quick thinking.”

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