Officers who saved unconscious woman from house fire received bravery award

Constable Alastair Maidment and Sergeant Ali Livingstone, of Suffolk Police, were called to a house fire in Ipswich on Christmas Day to find a person was trapped inside.

The pair were the first emergency response unit to arrive and, knowing life was at risk, they made the decision to enter the building. The modern front door was tough to break through and by the time the officers were inside the top floor was ablaze. While Ali checked downstairs, Alastair climbed to the first floor.

Alastair was overcome by the heat and heavy smoke, before he was able to locate anyone so he went back to the lower floor. Ali climbed the stairs and crawled on his hands and knees along the landing to through the heat and smoke. Reaching through a doorway, Ali could feel a lifeless body just inside.

Ali used a fire extinguisher to try to create space to breathe in the smoke but it had little effect. He had to go back downstairs to compose himself and take some deep breaths before making his way up to the body once again. Ali managed to drag the body to the top of the stairs, where Alastair was waiting and together they took the unconscious woman outside.

Within seconds of the trio emerging from the front door, the windows on the top floor exploded, showing them with glass.

A neighbour reported a child may be in the house as the Fire Service arrived, but thankfully a sweep by the firefighters ensured the house was clear. The woman survived without any serious injury and was discharged from hospital after a short stay. Both the officers were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Matt Gould, chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, said: “These officers, Ali and Alastair, 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 save the life of another. The Fire Service said that had the woman not been rescued when she was, she almost certainly would have died.”

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.