`

Derbyshire fire investigator 'blown away' after being recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours List

Fire investigator Dave Coss with fire investigation dog Dexter.
Fire investigator Dave Coss with fire investigation dog Dexter.

A Derbyshire fire investigator says he is 'blown away' after being recognised in today's Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) watch manager Dave Coss has received the prestigious Queen's Fire Service Medal for his distinguished work.

Mr Coss is a fire investigator working as part of the prevention and inclusion department at DFRS's Ripley headquarters.

He is the regional fire investigation dog handler for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire brigades, currently working with fire investigation dog Dexter.

Mr Coss - who has conducted research into smoke alarms and whether children woke to their sound - said: "It's a great honour to receive the Queen's Fire Service Medal and it came as a total surprise.

"It's been a tough job to keep it quiet so I've probably got a lot of explaining to do now.

"Together everyone working in the UK fire and rescue service strives to reduce the number of deaths and injuries as a result of fire and my research is just one aspect of that aim.

"I hope my research has warned parents that should a fire break out in their home, as their children will probably sleep through the sounding alarm, then they must go to their rooms to wake them and then evacuate the house together.

"I'm privileged to have an amazing job, working with dedicated people for a forward-thinking and innovative fire and rescue service.

"I'd like to thank the service and everyone I work with, past and present, and of course my family, all of whom have provided unwavering support throughout my fire service career and also during the many months of research.

"When I started my research, my aim was to improve fire safety in the home - it was never about recognition - so I'm incredibly humbled to have been recognised by the Queen.

"I really am blown away."

Mr Coss joined DFRS in 1992 and started his career as a firefighter in Chesterfield.

In 2001 he was promoted to watch manager and started working in the fire safety department at Alfreton.

In 2004 Mr Coss started working with the service's first fire investigation dog Fudge, a faithful working animal who, like her successors Freckle and Dexter, have worked with Dave on some of the highest profile fire investigations across the East Midlands.

Dave is no stranger to the witness box and his work and the evidence he has provided has been instrumental in securing many convictions, often in complex and protracted cases.

Terry McDermott, DFRS chief fire officer, said: "We are all incredibly proud of Dave for being honoured by the Queen for his dedication to fire safety.

"It's often a joke in the service that Dexter, the fire investigation dog that currently works alongside Dave, always gets all the attention - but on this occasion Dave is well and truly in the spotlight and rightly so.

"Sadly like many others working in the fire and rescue service, Dave has witnessed numerous fatal fires.

"To witness any fatal fire is catastrophic so to use his knowledge and experience as a catalyst to go on to improve the safety and chances of survival in a fire is both praiseworthy and commendable."

A number of other Derbyshire people have also been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Karen Elizabeth Gosden OBE has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for services to welfare reform.

Professor Pamela Enderby MBE has received an OBE for services to speech and language therapy.

Diana Barbara McKenna has received an OBE for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Dr Katharine McLean has received an OBE for services to leadership in the NHS.

Adrian Fewings has received an MBE for services to business and to the community in Derbyshire.

Grace Bolarinwa Moronfolu has received an MBE for services to community engagement.

John Graham Russell has received an MBE for services to schools and to the community in Derbyshire.

Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar has received an MBE for services to higher education and to the community in Wolverhampton.

Michael Gregory Tye has received a BEM for services to the community in Heath and Holmewood.

Joseph Ian Willgoose has received a BEM for services to higher education.