Thames Valley Police officers scoop bravery award after rescuing woman from a blazing house fire

PC Caleb Smith and Matthew Agar with Francis Habgood
PC Caleb Smith and Matthew Agar with Francis Habgood

Two Thames Valley police officers,  who rescued a woman from a blazing house fire have won a Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Award.

PCs Caleb Smith and Matthew Agar got the call to attend the incident at Harwell and were there in minutes as they were on patrol nearby.

When the officers arrived on the scene, back in December 2017, they could see that residents had smashed the glass of the back door to try and gain access and that smoke was pouring out of the property.

It hadn’t been confirmed at that stage that there definitely was someone still in the building, and although residents had told them that a woman lived there, the officers knew they couldn’t wait around to find out for sure.

After grabbing a fire extinguisher from their vehicle, the officers got into the building but were confronted by the thick smoke which made it difficult to see.

Trying to find their way around the house, PC Smith made his way into the living room where he found a barely conscious woman slouched under a duvet on the couch.

At this stage, PC Agar was battling back the flames in the kitchen and was trying to put the blaze out. He then helped his colleague with the slumbering victim in the living room and between them, the pair managed to get her outside and to safety.

By then, fire crews had arrived and they began to administer first aid to the woman. She later made a complete recovery.

The officers had attended a fire before, but this was the first time they had had to get into a property to save a life.

“It was a bit daunting because we’ve no preparation to deal with fire other than the tiny little fire extinguisher that we’ve got in the back of the car,” PC Smith said.

“The smoke was very bad, and the visibility was really poor, so it was a case of trying to track the woman down.”

PC Agar said: “It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. When you arrive at a job like this you just get an immediate adrenaline rush, it doesn’t really kick in how dangerous what you’ve encountered is until after it’s all over.

“It was just a case of get in there, try and tackle the fire and get this woman out.”

PC Smith concluded: “We are a little bit shocked but very privileged to have won a Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Award.”

Thames Valley Police Federation Chairman Craig O’Leary said the officers were life-savers.

“They had to make that decision to get into the building and find the woman despite the flames and choking smoke,” he said.

“They had to act decisively, and their bravery and quick-thinking actions certainly saved this woman’s life. We are very proud of them both.”

The pair will attend an Awards Ceremony in the Thames Valley Policing area on Thursday 28 February where an overall winner will be announced.

The awards are in association with JRM Mortgage Solutions and the hashtag for the event is #TVPFedBravery.