Retired Sergeant Mark Emery has been honoured at the Police Federation national Police Bravery Awards for evacuating a burning building in Worthing.
The former officer, based in the Operations Department at Headquarters, received an award on yesterday (October 16th) at a ceremony in London.
He was off-duty in Brighton Road in November 2012 and was in the car with his son when he saw smoke and flames coming from the top floor flat of a four-storey building. He immediately phoned the fire service and was instructed to stay outside. However he decided to enter the building and started to carry out a search..
He kicked in the front door and quickly made his way to the top floor. He could see smoke coming from one of the flats and he felt the door which was warm. He then shouted through the letterbox and tried unsuccessfully to gain entry. He then banged on the neighbouring door of two elderly residents who initially refused to open the door to leave the premises or to believe that he was a police officer.
After posting his warrant card through the letter box, the door was eventually opened but with the chain on. Sgt Emery could see that the elderly man was holding a knife. Sgt Emery finally managed to persuade him that he was a police officer and that the building was on fire. On enquiring if the couple knew the whereabouts of their neighbour and they said he was probably in the pub. The officer went back to the door, banged, kicked and shouted but got no reply. The heat and smoke were getting intense and Sgt Emery decided to get to a place of safety and took the elderly couple with him. On the way down he banged on the doors of each flat to make sure no-one was left inside.
The fire service arrived as he was leaving the building and went on to rescue the occupant of the burning flat who had been overcome with smoke inhalation.
Sussex Police Federaton Secretary Mark White said: “Sgt Emery had been nominated because he put himself at risk by entering a four storey building to ensure none of the occupants were put at risk.
He spent more than 15 minutes attempting to alert all other occupants and assisted in the removal of two elderly occupants. His prompt actions saved the life of one man and prevented the potential loss of life of two other people.
“This was especially impressive as Sgt Emery was a permanently restricted officer having suffered a broken back in a training accident in 2010. Sgt Emery is a very quiet and unassuming man who didn’t even tell his colleagues what he had done. It only came to light when the fire service contacted his supervisors to inform them of his bravery.”
He received a Chief Constable’s Commendation in 2013 for his actions.
Mark is pictured with his wife Lynne and Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith.