Cumbria - evacuated burning flats

PC Adrian Braniff PC Ruth Coates PC Christopher Davies

PC Adrian Braniff, PC Ruth Coates and PC Christopher Davies

Three Cumbria officers have been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award after risking their lives to evacuate residents of burning flats.

When a fire broke out at sheltered housing, among the first to respond were PCs Adrian Braniff, Ruth Coates and Christopher Davies.

They found a flat on fire, a building full of smoke and one person dead. Many of the vulnerable and elderly residents were still in their homes, so they went from flat to flat and room to room evacuating the addresses. In some cases, they had no option but to force entry in to people’s homes, kicking down doors and carrying residents to safety. The three officers suffered smoke inhalation as they put their own lives at risk to save others - all while the building threatened to collapse around them.

When the building was evacuated, 28 vulnerable and elderly people were outside in the cold and rain, so a reception centre was set up at a local leisure centre, making sure residents were safe and well.

Not only did the officers rescue people and save lives, they arranged food, clothing and fresh medication to replace what had been lost in the fire. They comforted distressed staff and vulnerable residents, helping them clean up and change their clothes, wrapping them in blankets and transporting people to get them to warmth and safety.

These officers put the safety of the public before their own, and showed real courage.