A TWO minutes silence will be held in memory of two Southampton firefighters who tragically lost their lives tackling a tower block blaze last year.

Firefighters Alan Bannon, 38, and Jim Shears, 35, died after being overcome by extreme heat while tackling a serious fire at Shirley Towers on April 6 last year.

All residents of the 15-storey block – including one heavily pregnant woman – were either evacuated or led to safety.

Staff across Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will mark the one year anniversary of the tragedy by observing the silence at 11am on Wednesday next week and flying flags at half mast.

The fire service drew up the plans with Alan and Jim’s families and members of Red Watch at St Mary’s Fire Station where the pair served.

Members of Red Watch will lay flowers at a memorial stone at fire headquarters in Eastleigh to remember their colleagues.

Chief officer John Bonney said: “As we move towards the one year anniversary of the tragic fire, we pause to reflect on the year and pay tribute to our lost colleagues.

“Since the incident we have moved forward as a Service and focus on new challenges, but Jim and Alan and their families will forever remain in our thoughts.”

The fire service has opened online books of condolence for members of the public to pay their respects.