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Caretaker hailed a hero for saving East Ham college from destruction

Newham College staff congratulates Jinxy Birdi for his award, presented by Philip Badman Newham College staff congratulates Jinxy Birdi for his award, presented by Philip Badman

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
4:40 PM

A college caretaker has received a special award after his quick thinking saved part of the premises when nearby electrical explosions threatened almost certain disaster.

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Newham College’s Site Officer, Jinxy Birdi, was given a special award by grateful colleagues on February 24 for his part in dealing with a fire next to the College’s East Ham Campus in High Street South.

A spokesman for the college said without his prompt action to call the fire brigade, the seven-story college building could have been in flames on February 18.

The likely cause was a fault with a large cable that carried around 11,500 volts and that went into the college building. The campus was closed for part of the day until it was made safe.

Jinxy said: “I was just doing my job which was to be concerned about safety. The training, the drills we’ve had and common sense were important but it was also a joint effort.”

Site officer, Hicham Majjoudou also contacted Jinxy about the explosion while security officers, Karim Gharbaoui and Zahid Ahmed evacuated the building.

Hicham said: “I saw the explosion. It shook the whole building. Jinxy is a hero.”

Presenting the award, Deputy Principal Philip Badman said: “There were two large explosions at 7.10am on Tuesday morning. Thankfully, there was someone working in our building at the time of the explosions.

“Jinxy ran downstairs and saw smoke billowing out of the electricity substation. He promptly activated the fire alarm and summoned the fire brigade. It could have been nasty. If he had not acted quickly and correctly we could have lost part of the campus.”

Mr Badman said Jinxy would receive a bonus in his pay packet and gave him a tongue-in-cheek Fireman Sam helmet.

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