In emergencies call 999

Graduate thanks firefighters for excellent work after they rescued her from wreckage of smashed car

Zoe Turner has been reunited with the fire crew that came to her aid after the taxi she was travelling in was involved in a horrific collision with a cement mixer shortly before Christmas.

The 21-year-old spoke of the “caring and professional” emergency response she received from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) firefighters who were on the scene within minutes.   

Zoe was the front seat passenger in the taxi and was left with multiple injuries including a fracture to her lower spine, left side of her pelvis and shoulder. She also broke her sternum in the collision, which happened shortly before 3am on December 14, in Mill Street, Leeds.

The incident was attended by an engine from Leeds and Gipton as well as the Technical Rescue Unit from Cleckheaton.

In total, Zoe and three friends, who were on their way to Ferrybridge following a night out in Leeds, were trapped in the vehicle, as well as the driver. They were all released by highly skilled firefighters who are extensively trained in the use of cutting equipment to free casualties from crushed vehicles.  

Firefighters worked alongside blue light partners from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Police. 

Zoe was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where medics told her that her tight red dress had acted as a corset and prevented her injuries from being a lot worse.

Now recovering at her Wakefield home, Zoe has had a chance to reflect on how fortunate she has been and heaped praise on the firefighters, whose help was invaluable in her moment of need.

The Nottingham Trent University psychology graduate has since appeared in local and national media telling her story.  

She said: “I know the story is about the dress but the dress is nothing compared to what they [the firefighters] did.

“In reality it’s these guys that save lives. They really cared.

“They were very professional and I was really impressed with how they dealt with the incident.”

Zoe said she was in immense pain following the collision.

Firefighter Leon Dentico, from Leeds Red Watch, delivered one-to-one casualty care to Zoe and kept her calm throughout whilst other crew members worked on the car and other casualties.  

Zoe said: “When Leon got there I was petrified. Leon was talking to me explaining things. He said ‘you are going to be alright’ and that calmed me down.”

Zoe spent three days in hospital following the collision and was well enough to thank the firefighters in person on Monday (January 12).   

She said: “It’s crazy to see them again. I feel lucky that I have met them and said thanks because it’s quite rare for that to happen.

“I never thought something like this would happen to me. It’s shown me how good our emergency services are.”