Police Bravery Awards 2014 - Winner (South East Region) - Officers who stopped human fireball on petrol station forecourt win bravery award

16 October 2014

Two Essex Police officers who helped extinguish a man who had set himself on fire at a petrol station have won a prestigious police bravery award.

As the man soaked himself in flammable liquid and threatened to set himself on fire on the station’s forecourt, PC Keith Lucas and PC Shane Robinson ran towards him, ordering him to drop his lighter.

But as the officers got to within a few feet of him, he ignited and turned into a huge fireball.

Engulfed in flames and screaming in pain, the man stepped towards the officers as they instructed him to drop to the floor.  PC Robinson removed his fleece, ran towards the man and began to beat the flames. 

The man’s upper body was engulfed in flames but PC Robinson continued to try to smother the flames.  Suddenly he rose to his feet but collapsed on the pavement. 

The fire service stepped in and miraculously the man survived.  Had it not been for the courage and determination of PC Robinson and PC Lucas, the outcome of the incident, in Westcliff-on-Sea at 3.15am on 28 December 2012, could have been very different. 

The two officers have now won the eastern region Police Bravery Award at a ceremony in central London attended by the Home Secretary, police minister Mike Penning and Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, among other dignitaries. He was presented with the award by Mike Penning, police minister.

Earlier in the day, PC Lucas and PC Robinson joined 64 of their colleagues from 31 forces round the country for a reception at 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister David Cameron as a mark of recognition for their heroic acts.

PC Lucas said:  “When you look at the other nominees it’s an absolute honour to have won and I feel very proud.  It is unbelievable.  When you look at the CCTV it brings home what the dangers were – how close to the pumps the man was and how dangerous it was.  It’s an absolute pleasure to attend the event but it is no more than other officers would do.”

PC Robinson said:  “Other officers nominated and that I work with are very brave on a daily basis.  Even with hindsight I don’t think I would really change what we did that night.  This event is a lovely way of recognising what we do as police officers up and down the country.”

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘I am constantly humbled and amazed by the selfless acts of bravery carried out by police officers on a day to day basis. For every act of courage and bravery recognised in the Police Bravery Awards there are hundreds more that occur in our communities every day that go unrecognised. Each nominee is a credit to the police service and to the community they serve.”

Stephen Mann, CEO, Police Mutual, said:  “Every day, police officers across the country face incredibly difficult and dangerous situations, acting with real heroism to protect the lives of others. All of the officers nominated for an award have shown great dedication to their duty and remarkable courage. Police Mutual is honoured to continue our sponsorship of the Police Bravery Awards for the sixth consecutive year and we give our sincere thanks to the men and women who keep us all safe.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR

Footage of the Downing Street reception and awards ceremony is now available, including a montage of the day, clips of the awards, post award interviews and clips of the nominees at Downing Street.

If you require technical assistance re accessing this footage, please contact Tim Lowell, 07812 975561, timl@glasgows.co.uk

Photographs of the nominees and winners can be requested by contacting andersonphoto663@gmail.com or media@polfed.org

For further information, or to arrange an interview with these winners, please contact:

Mark Smith, Chairman, Essex Police Federation, 07817 793765