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Special Constables put their lives on the line

On Saturday, 15 July 2017, Special Constables Ben Chance and Charlie Bennett were on mobile patrol in the South Herefordshire area. At just after 2:00pm they were directed by the Operational Control Centre to attend a residential home in South Herefordshire, where a fire had been reported, along with concerns that there were people trapped in the premises.

The first police at the scene, the Special Constables arrived at the same time as a local crew from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, and both parties were met with conditions that convinced them that they were dealing with a serious fire.

Initially the Special Constables spoke to care workers from the home who confirmed that everyone had been evacuated from the premises, apart from one person who was trapped in the burning room.

However as Special Constable Bennett approached the front door of the property a carer came out carrying an elderly resident in her arms. Special Constable Bennett ran over to the carer and took hold of the resident and carried her to the safety of an adjacent building to which the other residents had been taken.

Both Special Constables were then made aware of a further resident in a room at the top of the building. At this time there was only one fire appliance at the scene and the majority of its crew were attempting to get the resident out of the burning room and stop the fire from spreading.

The two Special Constables and a fire-fighter made their way to the end of the lower floor of the building and entered the building and made their way to the resident's room and rescued them.

As Special Constable Bennett exited the nursing home he was aware that the fire service had managed to extricate the resident from the burning room and had brought them outside. Special Constable Bennett went straight over to assist with first aid and was aware the resident was struggling to breathe and suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation. Oxygen was given by the paramedics, but Special Constable Bennett stayed with the resident, offering reassurance until they were taken to hospital.

Special Constable Chance also ensured that all of the residents were finally accounted for and updated the Duty Sergeant who had arrived and was managing the scene from a policing perspective.

Special Constable Bennett then took over the scene guard of the room, while Special Constable Chance continued to provide support to the other emergency services on the scene.

Special Chief Inspector Chris Smith said: "To me the above highlights the commitment of my officers in protecting people from harm and that they ultimately put their lives on the line to rescue trapped persons. I know that they will have risk assessed as they went, and having spoken to them after they left the scene they both said they were "just doing their job" - which I found a very humbling statement".