Billy Faust lost his life in the line of duty on the 20th of July 2004, alongside his colleague Adam Meere. Their Red Plaque was the first in the Scheme, presented on the 1st of December 2017.
Colleagues on the Red Watch at Whitechapel Fire Station, Billy and Adam were tragically killed while fighting a fire in Bethnal Green, after rescuing another man. At the time of his death, Billy was thirty-six, married with three children, and had been serving at Whitechapel for seven years.
Billy and Adam were among fifty firefighters called to the blaze in a three-storey building that included a car tyre shop and housing. After the two men entered the basement, there was an explosion which triggered a collapse and cut off their water supply. Their colleagues immediately set about attempting to rescue the pair despite the punishing conditions, both the trapped firefighters were rescued but had sadly suffered severe injuries. Tragically both firefighters were confirmed dead shortly after arriving at hospital.
Their untimely deaths deeply affected the fire service and triggered key improvements to equipment, communications and safety procedures which protect firefighters from similar accidents. It was Firefighter Fred Hulbert, who dragged Adam’s body from the blaze, who began a campaign soon after to improve safety and training in the fire brigade. His fight led to a change of procedures after firemen from all over Britain lobbied Parliament in 2008.
Today, Billy is fondly remembered by his family, colleagues, and brothers and sisters in the FBU. His shared memorial with Adam can be found in a peaceful public garden near the scene of the fire, around a mile from his former station.
Whitechapel fire station manager Jon Scott said:
“Firefighters accept the risk of their job, but it’s for all of us when you make the ultimate sacrifice. We should commemorate them and all the fallen firefighters killed in the line of duty.”
Below are memories added by those who knew Billy Faust or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for Billy Faust that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
Please help support our Firefighters with the Firefighters 100 Lottery, a weekly online lottery created to support firefighters, their bereaved families and to honour the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters killed in the line of duty. With your help we can have schemes such as the Red Plaque Project for memorials to those lives lost.
Photo credits: Stefano Cagnoni