A HEROIC police officer who risked his own life by running into a burning building to rescue a trapped woman says he would do it all again – despite it breaking every rule in the book.
The selfless actions of PC Matthew Neville, PC Mark Hook and PC Emma Buckle have been praised by Superintendent Steve Hockin, area commander for Chiltern and South Bucks.
The brave trio rushed into the four-storey block at Park Place in Amersham and battled thick smoke as they forced their way into the woman’s flat.
PC Hook hoisted the terrified woman on his shoulders and carried her out while the other officers evacuated tenants at about 6.11am on Monday.
PC Neville, 31, from High Wycombe said: "It was a scary situation but we simply weren’t thinking about our own safety at the time.
"The smoke was unbearable, it was choking, but all we wanted to do is get to her. We’re not supposed to race into a burning building and I’d be lying if I said we’d had training, but the preservation of life is the main aim."
The woman was taken to hospital after suffering the effectives of smoke inhalation but she thanked the officers, who also required hospital treatment, for their courageous efforts.
PC Neville said: "She was obviously quite distressed but she was very glad to have been rescued and glad to be out.
"We did what we had to do and I’d do it again if I had to. I’m just pleased that everyone, including my colleagues, who were excellent, is ok."
Five firecrews were called to tackle the blaze after the three police officers raised the alarm. Police say they are treating the fire as "suspicious".
A resident who lives opposite the building told the BFP: "The entire level was on fire with flames billowing out the windows and smoke all over the place....There were so many police cars, the road was blocked off."
Supt Hockin commended his three officers for their actions. He told the Free Press: "This demonstrates the commitment and dedication of our young officers in putting themselves at risk in order to protect the public.
"The day before was the police memorial day. 12 officers have been killed in the line of duty this year, so we train our officers not to go into burning buildings as they are dangerous.
"It’s a testament to these officers for their unstinting bravery that their priority is to save peoples’ lives, even at the end of an eight hour shift.
"They’ve clearly put themselves at risk and should be congratulated for their efforts."
A spokesman for Paradigm Housing said it was helping police with their investigations and those residents affected by the fire. Two households are currently staying at a hotel.
Contact police on the non-emergency 101 enquiry line with any information about the fire.