On the night of January 23rd 2006 A fire had taken hold in an apartment block in the suburb of Sampaix, Paris, France. A crowd had gathered to watch as friends and neighbours struggled to battle the ensuing inferno that had taken hold. One lady, Mde degraine was being held back by people as she watched helplessly as her children and childminder struggled to breath at a window on the second floor of her apartment, trapped by the Smoke and flames raging within. A short distance away a Mr Chevallier had had a small disagreement with two youths in a nightclub and had been ejected from the premises. The youths followed him out and a fight ensured to which somebody summoned the assistance of the police. Upon the arrival of the police Mr Chevallier made his escape and stumbled upon the ensuing inferno as it was unfolding. with complete and utter disregard for his own safety he proceeded to enter the building after dousing himself in bottles of mineral water from a bistro across the street. he reappeared within minutes with two of the children then hurried back inside to collect the other two and the childminder.On this attempt the staircase between floors had burnt away completely so he was left with the option of jumping from the second floor window with two young children under his arm, resulting in him tearing the ligaments in his lower right leg. although injured and suffering from burns to his hands, legs and face he then climbed up the outer wall to assist the childminder in her escape, at this point the fire crew had arrived at the scene and were able to rescue her resulting in Mr Chevallier being pulled back and rushed to hospital in a waiting ambulance.
for his heroic actions on this night Mr Chevallier was awarded L'Homme de la premiere heure (a man of the finest hour) medal,one of the highest decorations awarded to a French civillian, which he refused to accept, stating that he was just an odinary man doing what he thought was the right thing to do.
When in hospital he was visited by the children and child minder he had saved, this visit he refused to accept also, as in his own words he said ' as long as the children are ok then thats the main thing, now please excuse me but I am trying to hide from the police'! No charges were ever brought against Mr Chevallier.
Mr Chevallier now resides back in the United Kingdom and works in the hotel and leisure industry and to this day remains very quiet about the night of January 23rd 2006