A heroic family man, who rescued his neighbour from a house fire, is bidding to serve his community in a different sense, as he prepares to stand for councillor in the forthcoming local elections.

Chris Smith, 36, from Strawberry Bank, Tunstall, is a member of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, but was off-duty when he saved the life of a vulnerable woman, trapped in her kitchen when a fire broke out in November.  Now Chris is running to become his local ward councillor, standing in May’s elections as the area’s Labour Party candidate.

The father-of-one, who has been a fire officer for a decade, was off duty when he heard his neighbour’s fire alarm sounding, and noticed plumes of thick, black smoke coming over the fence from the adjacent flat.  The Labour Party member was able to jump the fence, enter the property and rescue the woman – who had mobility issues and was frozen in fear as the fire took hold in her kitchen – from her home, before putting out the blaze, to prevent further harm.

Now Sunderland born Chris, whose wife also works for the emergency services, is standing to support his community in another way, in a bid to become a Labour councillor in the St Michael’s ward, a part of the city that is traditionally a Conservative safe seat.

Chris, who is set to receive an award for his off-duty bravery, said: “My job is about helping people at their most vulnerable – whether it’s in a fire or a car accident.  I have strong Labour values and I want to use them to support my community; to help tackle issues and ensure that the people who live in St Michael’s Ward have a strong voice on the city council to ensure the things that matter to them are well-represented on the local council.

“I’m a committed public servant in my day job, so being able to help my community as a councillor is something that means an awful lot to me.  I live in the ward, love the area and want the absolute best for it.”

This is Chris’ first bid to move into local politics.

“I follow politics, but I hadn’t ever thought about running to be a councillor until now.  I really care about this area and the city and want only the best for it.  Being a Labour Party candidate is something I am proud of and I really hope people can see that I am someone who will stand up for them, support them and do what’s right for the St Michael’s community.”