Courage of former fireman whose heroism came to symbolise capital's spirit

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The Independent Online

Twenty-four hours later, the picture of Mr Dadge comforting a woman with burns whose surgical mask he applied has became one of the most poignant images of the disaster.

Mr Dadge, 28, an AOL project manager, had been travelling on the Tube when he was evacuated with other passengers at Baker Street station. He decided to walk to his office in Paddington when he stumbled across the injured commuters on Edgware Road.

"I could see fire engines and then they started to bring out a lot of the walking wounded. I helped to organise a casualty unit at the nearest Marks & Spencer where the seriously injured were placed at the front and the walking wounded at the back. I was shouting for anyone to come in who was involved in the Edgware Road incident.

"For me it was natural to help them. If someone is in trouble, that's what I do. There were others helping, there was a massive amount of team work. Even the walking wounded were helping the seriously injured.

"There was an awful lot of people there. Staff from the Marks & Spencers helped and we took the injured into a hotel.

"I helped the woman in the picture, Davinia, but she was a really brave lady. She was extremely calm and maybe in a deep state of shock.

"You could tell she had burns because her face had red patches all over and the hair around her face was burnt.

"I think she would have been OK. I certainly hope she is.

"I believe she was taken to St Mary's Hospital and I'd love to get in touch with her and find out how she is.

"I was with Davinia for about five minutes and didn't really have time to chat to her. I just filled out a basic triage form to assess her injuries. She told me she had a boyfriend. And I applied some dressings to her burns before she was taken off to hospital. I saw her go to a police van and wished her good luck.

"There was another man who was just in his boxers and had managed to find a dressing gown. His trousers were on him but were ripped. There was no time to ask anyone where they worked and what they did," he said.

Mr Dadge used his medical training from a previous career as a part-time fireman two years ago to apply surgical masks on the badly burnt and treat glass wounds, flash burns and lacerations. "I was trained in first aid when I was in the fire service but to be honest I think it was instinct more than training that took over.

"I always seem to be in the wrong place at the right time. I have come across accidents before now and helped out."

He said he felt most of the injured showed great heroism in the light of their wounds and the lack of medical resources. "The atmosphere was extremely calm considering the frustrating lack of medical resources around. I could only see two medics and one ambulance officer. I grabbed the surgical gloves out of the medical bag that was lying there and just started helping," he said.

"It was quite surreal in a way because in the Metropole Hotel there were people having business meetings who didn't know what had happened."

Mr Dadge, who lives in Cannock, Staffordshire, works for half the week in London and was staying at the Holiday Inn, at King's Cross.

Yesterday, he was planning to make the train journey back to the Midlands and said the tube crisis would not scare him away from working in the capital or using public transport. "I am no more nervous travelling on the trains than I was before the bomb blast. I'm sure we will all be a bit reluctant but I'm willing to take the Tube again.

"There is a determination among the people of this city to see this as nothing more than an inconvenience. We knew this was going to happen and we are getting through it. There is a frustration that these terrorists think we will be affected by what happened but we will all be back to normality on Monday.

"We will not be daunted, my message to them is 'forget it, you will not win.'"