Police Federation

Thames Valley


A heroic team of officers who put their lives on the line, surviving a gas explosion, to rescue a casualty and residents from an out-of-control fire have been nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards 2024.

In the early hours of 2 January 2021, Thames Valley Police received a call from a member of the public reporting a caravan was on fire and had exploded.

Nearing the end of their already exhausting 12-hour long New Year’s Day late shift, every Team 2 officer that physically could dropped what they were doing and rushed to the scene.

Whilst on route, further information was coming in, shedding light on the major incident they would soon find themselves embroiled in.

Knowing it was likely they were going to be the first emergency responders on scene, drawing on experience from his skills as a specialist search officer, a sergeant, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave advice on appropriate evacuation procedures, and PC Adam Price set an emergency working strategy. This gave a clear and precise plan for the team, setting out roles and responsibilities.

Approaching the scene, the sky turned to a glow of orange with flames billowing out tens of metres into the air.

PCs Alex Moore, Dominic Spear and Adam Price were the first responders on scene and were met with dozens of bewildered residents lining the streets of the site.

They immediately began giving instructions to residents, to clear them back away from the fire.

Within seconds, PC Moore located a casualty sat in the middle of the road just a few metres away from the fire, which had encompassed the entire caravan and was spreading to a neighbouring van.

With the fire raging and spreading out of control, PC Moore ran straight past the fire in order to reach the casualty, followed quickly by PCs Price and Spear, all putting themselves in harm’s way to carry him to safety.

Officers and firefighters continued administering first aid while evacuating the residents around them, comforting the casualty and gaining vital information as to whether neighbouring properties had been evacuated or not.

PC Rachel Walsh and PC Reece Stansbury were also at the site at this point and assisted in the evacuation, making sure other residents kept away from the danger.

By this point the fire was rapidly growing, spreading across other properties and engulfing the road.

The flames and heat were so intense, they effectively cut them off from the safety of the RV point that had been established on the other side of the fire by the fire service and where paramedics would stage themselves when they arrived.

A PC, who wishes to remain anonymous, and the sergeant arrived along with the first ambulance at the entrance to the caravan site. They immediately grabbed various medical packs and equipment and sprinted towards the blaze, paramedics in tow.

They were met with the sight of the inferno. Knowing their colleagues were on the other side and in need of urgent medical help, without hesitation they, and PC James Clifton, ran through the fire to get the medical equipment and paramedics to the casualty.

In the meantime, concerns were growing on the opposite side of the fire, when information was received that an elderly couple were unaccounted for in a property that backed straight onto the fire.

PC Jasmine Brewster and PC Peter Screen began trying to raise the occupants by banging on the doors and windows, placing themselves well within the 200-metre evacuation zone that was still being established.

Officers with the casualty began formulating an evacuation plan, knowing they were cut off and the only way back to the ambulance would be to travel the entire way around the perimeter of the site.

They began fashioning a makeshift stretcher out of a board and limb restraints but whilst doing so, there was a huge secondary explosion from a 25L propane gas cylinder inside the caravan.

The blast sent an enormous fireball in excess of 50 metres into the sky, knocked several officers with the casualty to the floor, and caused debris to cascade down in all directions.

PCs Screen and Brewster narrowly avoided large chunks of caravan hurtling towards them, which would have almost certainly killed them, just as they were about to enter the neighbour’s garden.

The sergeant, PCs Price, Moore, Clifton, along with firefighters then grabbed the stretcher and began extracting the casualty, all the time shouting for residents to evacuate the site.

PCs Spear and another PC cleared the way for the stretcher whilst carrying the medical equipment and had to contend with an obstructive and abusive resident who refused to move and was getting in the way of the stretcher.

They all continued to carry the casualty an agonising 550 metres around the caravan site, so they could safely reach the ambulance.

Once at the ambulance they were able to hand the casualty over into suitable care, despite being exhausted and surviving the explosion.

The officers gathered themselves together as a team, checked themselves for any injuries and then ran straight back towards the fire to continue evacuating residents.

They worked tirelessly until the fire was brought under control and they could hand over established cordon points to attending night turn officers.

The phenomenal actions of the officers that night not only saved the life of the casualty but also undoubtedly saved the lives of many other residents.

Thames Valley Police Federation Chair Craig O’Leary said: “This was incredible courage from our colleagues.

“The officers’ actions that night not only showed immense bravery and heroism, but also undoubtedly saved the life of the casualty as well as many other residents, all at the risk of their own lives.

“Having seen the body-worn footage of the second explosion, I know the officers were in a terrifyingly dangerous situation. They are very worthy nominees for this award. We are very proud of them all.”

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Jason Hogg said: “The officers of Thames Valley Police face difficult decisions and carry out selfless acts of bravery daily in the line of duty. The officers nominated for this award went above and beyond their duty with little regard to their own lives, in order to safeguard members of our community.

“Their quick thinking, selfless actions, and unwavering commitment to protecting the public exemplify the very best of Thames Valley Police and what it means to be a Police Officer. By putting themselves in harm's way to ensure the safety of others, they have demonstrated incredible courage and dedication beyond measure, embodying the values of our force and what it means to be a public servant.  Not every person could have done what they did.

“There is no doubt in my mind that their actions that day saved lives and serve as an inspiration to us all. I am immensely proud that they are officers of Thames Valley Police.”














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