The fire occurred in Bradford where PC Sean Cannon of the West Yorkshire force heard shouts for help on a street. He saw a house in flames and acted immediately,
“I saw smoke billowing out of a door and a kid at a window ledge, preparing to jump with a neighbour waiting to catch him.
“I heard people shouting ‘babies, babies’ so I took it there were other kids inside, so I ran into the house.”
PC Cannon kept running back into the house to save the remaining family members as rooms engulfed in flames and smoke. He goes on to say,
“I got upstairs and there was thick, choking smoke, coming down like a black liquid. I got on my knees and took a breath and thought ‘I’m in trouble here’.
“I found a couple of children in the bedrooms and came running out with them. Someone said I had one under each arm and threw them at him, but I don’t remember that.
“Thankfully, I felt a pair of ankles and found another child, brought him out, went back and got another child.”
However there was another relative in the attic the PC discovered, he said, “I got up there and found this lady who didn’t speak English and was too frightened to move. I had to drag her down two flights of stairs, shielding her face in my chest through the flames, until we got outside.”
He rescued in total five members of the Herak family, all born in Slovakia, two boys aged 3 and 13, two girls aged 5 and 9 and their 59-year-old great aunt. Two minutes after their rescue the fire brigade arrived.
The annual Police Bravery Awards are held to ‘honour police officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.’ The awards ceremony for 2016 will be held on 14th July 2016 and will be the 21st Anniversary of the event, 69 officers are nominated from 40 forces and will be invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street and awards ceremony later in the evening.
The event will take place at Dorchester Hotel in London.