Award for officers who rescued mother from house fire in Burnham

Melissa Paulden

Two quick-thinking police officers who responded to a house fire during a night on the beat in Burnham back in 2019 are to be awarded for their bravery.

PC Ben Eastment and PC Derek Ingram have jointly won a Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Award for rescuing an unconscious woman from a smoke-filled building, with just minutes to spare before the home erupted in flames.

Patrolling the roads on their patch on the night of October 29, 2019 PC Eastment and PC Ingram heard over police radio of a fire starting at a two-storey property at Ennerdale Crescent at approximately 10.30pm. People were still trapped in the burning building and, as it was just around the corner from their location, the officers raced there without hesitation.

Upon arrival at the scene, the critical nature of the situation quickly unfolded as the pair of officers found a teenage boy who was panicked and traumatised and unsure of the whereabouts of his siblings and mother.

PC Ingram said: “We were the first on the scene, before the fire brigade. Neighbours told us there were still people inside the house and maybe children. We’re both family men, so something clicked and we got our heads down and did what had to be done.”

The fire appeared to have started from behind a locked bedroom door on the first floor.

Thick smoke clouded their vision but the duo carried on with their courageous search, managing to find an unconscious female in another bedroom and carrying her to safety.

Once clear of danger the officers tended to both the mother and son until their colleagues arrived to administer first aid.

The officers themselves had to receive oxygen therapy for an hour after the incident.

“Ben and Derek no doubt saved the woman’s life by putting themselves in harm’s way – and they also made sure that no one else was going to come to any harm,” Thames Valley Police Federation Chair Craig O’Leary said of their bravery.

He added: “Police officers are much more than crime fighters and once again this incident shows just that.”

The duo’s life-saving efforts and quick-thinking acts of courage will be applauded at the 2022 Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Awards on April 28 where an overall winner will be announced. The officers have also received a Chief Constable’s Higher Commendation for their actions.

PC Eastment said: “I feel extremely honoured to be nominated for such an award. Though I feel I was just doing my job, and I don’t think either myself or PC Ingram had a second thought about running into the house to save the lady inside.”

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