Officers who risked their life entering a pub on fire have received a bravery award

Two North Wales police officers, who risked their lives when they entered a burning pub to try and locate trapped people inside, have received a Police Bravery Award.

The actions of North Wales Sergeant Iwan Owen (now retired) and Constable Elwyn Williams, including members of North Wales Police, were called to reports of a fire at the Three Crowns Pub in Bangor. Among the first officers at the scene were Iwan and Elwyn.

As they approached, they could see a great deal of smoke coming out of the top floor of the three storey building. A group of 40-50 people had already gathered outside. It quickly became apparent that there were potentially people still trapped inside.

Black smoke was billowing out of the windows of the first and second floor, and large flames inside the building on the first floor. It was clear that the first and second floors were quickly being engulfed in flames.  

Iwan and Elwyn made the decision to enter the building to see if there were still people inside. The ceiling area was filled with thick black smoke, and flames were rising. In a matter of seconds the situation inside quickly deteriorated, the heat was intense and visibility was extremely limited.

Iwan then heard a loud bang together and saw some sort of flash, and felt himself being struck in the face. Both officers saw that the situation was perilous and extremely dangerous in terms of the heat, flames and smoke. They were having difficulty breathing and were concerned that the ceiling may collapse, and that their exit may be blocked. Iwan shouted to his colleague that they should get out immediately so they exited the building as quickly as possible. The building subsequently suffered significant fire and smoke damage to all three floors including the roof, which ultimately collapsed.

As a result of their actions, both officers suffered from smoke inhalation and minor injuries. Both officers were admitted to hospital where they received treatment and were released shortly after.

Simon Newport, chairman of North Wales Police Federation, said: “These officers, deserve the praise and recognition of the public for their brave actions that night. Without a second thought, they risked their own lives, entering a burning building, to ensure the safety of the public before their own.

The Police Bravery Awards recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty. They are organised by the Police Federation of England and Wales and took place on 14 July 2016.