An off-duty police officer who risked her life to save an elderly man from his burning bungalow in Melton has been nominated for a national police bravery award.
Pc Katy Burnham braved the flames and thick smoke and made sure 90-year-old dementia sufferer Jan Bielski got out of his home.
Mr Bielski tried to put out the blaze in his kitchen with cups of water but his attempts failed, putting him in serious danger.
Pc Burnham had heard the smoke alarm sounding as she was preparing to go to work in August 2014.
She went into the street to investigate and saw thick smoke coming out of the windows of a bungalow. She immediately called 999 but knew the occupant was a 90-year-old man who suffered from dementia.
Pc Burnham banged on the door to get Mr Bielski’s attention who eventually opened the door but then went back into the kitchen which was well alight.
Mr Bielski had called his daughter, Melton driving instructor Ursula Young, saying he was trying to put the fire out. She told him to get out but he was resisting, telling her he wanted to save his home.
Due to the immediate danger Mr Bielski was in, Pc Burnham went inside the property and led him to safety, using a combination of gentle restraint and persuasion to make sure that he didn’t go back inside.”
Pc Burnham received a bravery commendation from Leicestershire Police and an award from the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire in March this year.
Mr Bielski’s daughter, Ursula Young, said: “I’m delighted Pc Burnham has been put forward for this national award. We couldn’t be more grateful to her. My father wouldn’t have got out of there without her, she saved his life by doing that.
“At that time of morning, it was about 6am, half of us would still be fast asleep but Pc Burnham was alert, noticed the fire and took action. She stopped and investigated and then had the courage to deal with it. The fact she was off duty at the time just goes to show what character she has and what a good police officer she is. She definitely deserves to be put forward for this national award.”
Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “Katy was incredibly brave. She put herself at risk to save a life in a way that is typical of police officers everywhere. I was proud to be able to present her with my commendation and her national recognition is completely appropriate.”
Tiffany Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, said: “Pc Burnham was acutely aware of the risks involved when entering this house. Had it not been for her bravery and self-motivation in these extremely difficult circumstances then this could have resulted in a tragic fatality.”