A brave police officer who risked her life to save an elderly man from his bungalow in Melton will be among the first people to meet the new Prime Minister Theresa May today (Thursday) before receiving a national police bravery award.
Pc Katy Burnham will be attending a Downing Street reception set to be hosted by Mrs May as part of the national awards.
The former Home Secretary, who became PM last night, is scheduled to welcome all nominees for this year’s awards to the traditional reception at number 10.
Pc Burnham, a beat officer based at Keyham Lane police station in Leicester, was living in Melton when, in August 2014, she braved the flames and thick smoke to make sure vulnerable 90-year-old dementia sufferer Jan Bielski got out of his home.
After hearing an alarm going off nearby which showed no sign of letting up she went into the street to investigate and saw thick smoke coming out of the windows of a property nearby.
She knew the man who lived at the address was Mr Bielski (90) who suffers from dementia and immediately called the fire service.
Meanwhile she began to bang on the front door of the property to get his attention. Pc Burnham was unable to get into the house as all the doors were locked but through the window she could see he was on the phone.
Mr Bielski eventually let her into his house but walked straight back inside towards the kitchen where the fire was well ablaze. He’d tried to put the fire out with cups of water but his attempts failed, putting him in serious danger.
Despite Pc Burnham’s best efforts at speaking to Mr Bielski he would not leave the property and so she had to escort him from his home, being mindful of his age, his difficulty in walking and his mental wellbeing.
She had to use a combination of restraint and communication skills to make sure Mr Bielski didn’t go back inside.
Mr Bielski’s daughter, Ursula Young, said: “If it wasn’t for Pc Burnham’s quick thinking and courageous actions my father would have most certainly been killed in the fire.”
Pc Burnham, who joined Leicestershire Police in October 1999, has already been awarded a chief constable’s commendation for bravery and received an award from The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire in March.
After the Downing Street reception, the brave officers will attend the awards ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel.
Pc Burnham told the Melton Times she felt ‘very proud and privileged’ to receive her award and was ‘very excited’ about meeting the new PM today.
She said: “Of all the places you ever want to go to in life, number 10 Downing Street would be my choice. I’m very excited and I believe Mrs May will be greeting everyone personally.”