A Yorkshire police officer who repeatedly ran into a burning home to save several members of the same family has been praised for his “exceptional bravery” after winning the top prize at a national award ceremony.
West Yorkshire Police officer Pc Sean Cannon risked his own safety to rescue four children and their great aunt from the blaze in Bradford in June last year.
It could have ended so differently but as well as winning this award I’m really thankful that the family managed to get out alive.Sean Cannon
He was last night named as the overall winner in the Police Bravery Awards 2016 after earlier winning the North East regional prize at the ceremony in London, which recognises police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.
Mr Cannon was awarded a Chief Constable’s Commendation for his bravery and is to be awarded a Bronze Medal from The Royal Humane Society. He was also awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal.
After receiving the award from Home Secretary Amber Rudd, he said: “It’s absolutely mind blowing to win the overall award. Everyone else here tonight deserves this, I feel like I’m in very good company. I never imagined anything like this would ever happen.
“It could have ended so differently but as well as winning this award I’m really thankful that the family managed to get out alive.”
Mrs Rudd said: “In this phenomenal job that I have been asked to do I’m just a little bit in awe to hear these personal stories which will remind me of the individuals that make up this extraordinary, wonderful police service.
“I want to thank the Police Federation for this event which has made a dramatic and personable impression on me, my first event as Home Secretary.”
Mr Cannon became aware of the house fire after seeing black smoke billowing from the windows of a home while attending another incident on June 27.
He ran inside but was soon forced back outside due to the thick smoke. Drawing breathe he re-entered the house rescuing two frightened children from a first floor bedroom, carrying one under each arm.
Running back inside a further two times he rescued a child on each occasion. Thinking the house was empty, it soon became clear that another woman was still inside, somewhere in the second floor attic room. Mr Cannon ran inside once again and was able to find and escort the 59-year-old woman to safety.
In all two girls aged five and nine, two boys aged three and 13 and their great aunt were saved. All occupants received medical attention but made a full recovery.
Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “This was a situation in which Sean showed exceptional bravery, putting his own life at risk, to save the lives of others.
“The survival of those children and their great aunt is purely down to the brave and selfless actions of PC Cannon, who repeatedly put others’ safety before his own.”