Two Shropshire police officers who pulled a semi-conscious motorist to safety seconds before his car was engulfed in flames after a road crash have been praised for their bravery.
Alex Saxton and Tim Blackham received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for conspicuous bravery while saving life from fire.
Making the award, Paul Raymond said: This is a very rare award. There have only been two previous recipients since I have been Chief Fire Officer. When I heard the details of this rescue I knew I had to make this commendation to two very special and brave officers.
“I have no doubt that if it were not for their quick thinking and bravery, this man would have died.”
Thick toxic smoke had made it difficult and dangerous to approach the Renault Clio Sports car which had crashed into a row of trees at 1.20am on March 16 on the A442 near Leegomery roundabout in Telford.
The seriously injured motorist, trapped by his legs and upper body, was hanging out of the wreckage. The front end of the car was raised at an angle and had caught fire when the two policeman, both firearms officers on the Force Operations Support Team at Shrewsbury, arrived at the scene while on mobile patrol.
Despite using a fire extinguisher, the fire continued to spread rapidly.
“They tried to open the car door but it wouldn’t budge,” said Mr Raymond at a special awards ceremony held at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on Monday. (June 10th)
Attempts to move the man and find the seat belt proved unsuccessful and as the seconds ticked by, the two officers feared they would not be able to get the man out before it was too late.
Flames had burned through the foot well of the passenger side of the car and were quickly spreading through the car when the police officers found the seat belt in the choking black smoke and quickly cut it with a knife to release the trapped driver with only seconds to spare.
As they moved him to safety and were giving first aid – the car was totally engulfed in flames.
West Mercia Police said both were “extremely motivated” police officers.