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Southwark cops up for bravery award after Grange Road fire rescue

A team of Southwark police officers have been nominated for a bravery award after rescuing 10 people from a fire in a block of flats in Grange Road, Bermondsey.

PC Pierce Madden
PC Pierce Madden is one of the Southwark officers nominated for the Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award

PC Ben Davis, PC Tim Andrews, PC Pierce Madden, PC Jack Wilber and Insp Dan Marshall have been nominated in the Outstanding Bravery of the Year category at the Met Commissioner's Excellence in Total Policing Awards.

The Southwark team is one of four contenders with the winner to be selected by public vote.

At around 2am on Wednesday 25 November, police officers in Southwark responded to a domestic incident in Grange Road.

PC Wilber and PC Buck attended and were unexpectedly confronted with a block of flats ablaze with smoke billowing from the entrance.

Two cars had also been set alight at the bottom of the flats and the fire had spread to communal areas, trapping ten residents including a pregnant woman, a frail elderly resident and a baby.

Officers found a man with apparent mental health issues making repeated threats to kill and dousing petrol near both exits of the building. He punched PC Wilber before making off but was detained by PC Buck.

Both officers called for London Ambulance Service, London Fire Brigade and police back up.

Insp Marshall arrived along with PC Andrews, PC Davies and PC Madden. Realising the danger and imminent threat to life, the officers, along with PC Wilbur, took the decision to head into the building.

PC Wilber forced entry with a paving slab whilst the other officers used their fleece jackets to ward off intense flames and smoke in the hallways before completing a methodical search.

The thick black smoke made this extremely hard but despite the risk to their own lives, the officers continued to search every flat within the three-floor building.

They successfully rescued all ten people trapped inside, including the new baby, and directed them away from the burning cars that were at risk of exploding at any point.

The public vote is open until midnight on Monday 6 February.

The winner will be announced on 10 February.

Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "We have some outstanding candidates for this year's bravery award. All would make very worthy winners.

"Such remarkable acts of professionalism and selfless acts of bravery are often carried out in the Metropolitan Police Service, but rarely remarked upon. These awards give us the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the courage of some of our officers, in saving lives and tackling armed and dangerous criminals.

"Please take a small amount of time out of your day to read about what these officers did that resulted in them being nominated for this bravery award, and then place your vote. It was a very difficult decision for us to select these cases from a huge number of nominations.

"The winners will be recognised at our Total Excellence Awards, where we will hear of courage and professionalism but also our best leaders and volunteers, outstanding officers and staff of the year, excellence in victim care, diversity, team work and our best thief taker.

"This will be last my last time as commissioner presenting these awards. My officers and staff joined the Met to serve and protect Londoners and make our city safer for everyone. I am proud to lead an organisation where amazing work happens everyday. This is an opportunity for me to say thank you to all those men and women of the Met who give so much for London every day."

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