Heroic police officers praised for house fire rescue

PUBLISHED: 09:06 14 June 2014

A police car on the drive of a house in Spinners Lane in Swaffham, which was the scene of a fire and rescue. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A police car on the drive of a house in Spinners Lane in Swaffham, which was the scene of a fire and rescue. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Police officers have been hailed heroes after battling through a smoke-clogged home to rescue a woman in her 70s.

Emergency services were called to the blaze on Spinners Lane, Swaffham, at around 1.15pm yesterday after a neighbour heard a smoke alarm.

The brave officers from the Norfolk and Suffolk’s Roads Policing Unit and Swaffham station were first on the scene and tried to get inside the front of the house.

But as they were forced back by smoke and heat – and fire appliances from Massingham, Watton and Dereham were minutes away – the five officers had to make a snap decision.

After breaking down the back door, two officers made their way into the home without any fire safety equipment and found the woman slumped in her chair.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance’s Anglia Two helicopter flew to the scene, piloted by Captain Dave Kelly and landed nearby at just after 2pm.

Dr Monojit Choudhury and critical care paramedic Rob Elias anaesthetised the patient on scene and treated her for injuries including lower limb burns.

The woman was then airlifted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where she is said to be in a “serious condition” after suffering serious burns to her lower legs as well as severe smoke inhalation.

Roy Harold, the deputy chief fire officer for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, praised the police for their actions.

“I want to thank the police officers for their bravery. Their heroic actions made a big difference,” he said.

“We were still a few minutes away when the police offers rescued the woman, so if it wasn’t for the police officers it could have been a very different outcome.”

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of Roads Policing in Norfolk and Suffolk, said he was very proud of the officers and wished the woman well.

“They made a decision in terms of saving someone’s life as well as putting themselves in danger,” he said.

“They acted in the tradition of Norfolk constabulary and the police across the UK.”

A spokesman for Norfolk police said the officers involved were not available for interview last night.

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