Multi-lingual Hartlepool schoolboy's fire engine surprise after helping brigade overcome language barrier

A Hartlepool school boy received a special surprise when a fire engine visited him at school.

Saturday, 9th April 2022, 4:45 am

Firefighters from the town took the wagon to Grange Primary School to thank pupil Victor Wilewski, aged nine, for the help he gave to the brigade with his language skills during a recent home fire safety visit.

Victor acted as a translator between the firefighters and his Polish grandmother Iwona Pukawa, who does not speak English, to get across key fire safety advice.

The fire brigade was at Grange Primary on Monday to deliver an assembly on fire safety.

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Grange Primary School pupil Victor Wilewski, received a surprise visit from Cleveland Fire Brigade pay.

During the assembly, Victor was presented with a certificate from the fire service for his excellent communication skills.

And he was told a fire engine was in the car park just for him.

Victor, whose first language is English but speaks fluent Polish due to his parents, said: “I was excited when I found out.”

He explained about his help: “My grandma speaks Polish and doesn’t have English so I translated from English to Polish for her.

Grange Primary School pupil Victor Wilewski with the certificate he was presented with by the fire brigade.

"Then she did what the fire brigade asked her to.”Antonia Fawcett, the brigade’s schools education coordinator, said: “When the crew arrived at the property they were having difficulty relaying the information to Iwona.

"Victor helped us massively so we wanted to thank him.”

Sadly, the fire engine was called away from the school after getting a 999 call. But the brigade has promised to return and give Victor a ride home in an engine soon.

As well as his certificate, he was also presented with a bag of fire brigade goodies.

Grange Primary assistant head Adam Merritt said: “The crew contacted the school wanting to do something special for Victor.

"We were incredibly proud to hear the story of what happened and how he demonstrated our core values of kindness, care and compassion towards his family and his community.”

Headteacher Leanne Yates added: “We are doing a lot of work in partnership with different agencies to do with community safety and helping the children to develop into well-rounded individuals.”

Cleveland Fire Brigade are currently undertaking engagement work and have events planned in Hartlepool as part of a spring campaign tackling deliberate fires and urging people to report fly-tipping.

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