Hero trucker Steve Belmont from Morecambe, who saved the life of a fellow driver as flames engulfed his cab, has been hailed as ‘Britain’s bravest trucker’.
Steve, 50, of Fairfield Park, was wearing just his underpants and t-shirt when he heard an explosion and saw the cab parked nearby ablaze at Liverpool Docks in summer.
He raced into action opening the passenger door and dragging unconscious Liverpool grandad Mike Healey, who was making Pot Noodles prior to the blaze, out of the driver’s seat with such force his shoulder was broken as they crashed to the ground.
Steve said his military training kicked in – and that’s how he had the mental strength to act quickly and efficiently to save a fellow lorry driver.
He had been part of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and the Royal Logistics Corps for more than 20 years, serving in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Poland.
Steve said: “I have had some hairy moments, life and death situations, but I am not going into it. Put it this way, I’m trained to know what to do to act quickly to save a colleague as best you can.”
“I heard a bang and saw the flames in the cab about 20 yards away. I was lay out in my cab watching a film before I went to sleep, wearing just my underpants and t-shirt. I slipped my shoes on and ran as fast as I could over to the cab that was on fire. I kept shouting was there anyone in there. The passenger door was already open and I grabbed the driver, who I now know as Mike, and yanked him out.
“I could hear him screaming and there was another explosion. I wanted to get him away as quickly as possible but he wouldn’t get up so I dragged him to one of his colleagues in another lorry nearby.
“The ambulance and fire brigade were there very quickly and I’ll remember the fire officer who showed me the remains of the camper cooker in Mike’s cab and said I should consider myself a hero because I saved Mike’s life and not many people would have gone in there and got him out.”
Steve and Mike met for the first time since at the Roadking New Hollies and to mark the improvements at Britain’s oldest truck stop, there were a series of awards that included Steve being honoured as the ‘bravest trucker in Britain’.
Grandad Mike, 56 said: “That fella saved my life, it’s as simple as that. Everyone in my family, from my grandchildren to the wife, are just so grateful. If it wasn’t for him, I would not be here today. Everyone at Liverpool Royal Hospital was saying how lucky I was. All I ended up with was some minor burns on my fingers and thumb and a broken shoulder. I was only in hospital for six hours or so.
“It’s brilliant to be able to meet Steve here and thank him properly. We have spoken on the phone but never met face-to-face since what happened in June. We’re going to meet up in the new year with our wives and have a good drink. I am 17 stone so how he had the strength to get me out of that cab while it was in flames, I will never know.He must have just yanked me.”
Betfred boss Fred Done, who owns the Roadking complex, said: “Steve acted in a remarkably brave manner and there were not many dry eyes when the pair embraced in front of fellow drivers at the awards breakfast.”Also honoured was 77-year-old Alan Wilson, from Preston, who was declared the ‘oldest trucker in the land’ having visited the complex for 50 years.
Denis Harman, a 60-year-old cleaner from Walsall, was voted en masse as Roadking’s ‘most helpful worker’, while ‘the most popular person on site’ was handed to Lucy Kane, 41, from Stafford, of M&L Truck Wash.
The final winner was Bill Williams, 65, from North Wales, who was named the most loyal Roadking customer, having seen the complex transform for over 40 years.