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Penrith fire: ‘Life saving’ officers commended at awards ceremony

Five of the nine recipients attended this evening and received their awards Photo: Cumbria Police

Nine police officers who worked to save elderly and vulnerable people during a major fire in Penrith have been praised for their actions during and after the blaze.

The Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary commended the following officers, who were presented with awards at a special ceremony at Roundthorn Hotel in Penrith:

  • Inspector Kim Brennand
  • Sergeant Mark Somers
  • PC Ruth Coates
  • PC Christopher Davies
  • PC Adrian Braniff
  • PC Nigel Hamblin
  • PC Nick Dumphreys
  • PC Erich Thoele
  • Sgt Tim Parkin (retired)
Fire damage at Lonsdale Court Credit: ITV Border

In November 2016 a major fire started at a residential home in Lonsdale Court, Penrith.

Among the first to respond were Police Constables Ruth Coates, Christopher Davies and Adrian Braniff.

The three officers found a flat on fire, a building full of smoke, and one person dead.

They proceeded to remove 28 elderly and vulnerable residents to safety breaking through locked doors and carrying those unable to walk.

Emergency services tackling the blaze Credit: ITV Border

Inspector Kim Brennand said:

This was an extremely distressing incident with the loss of a man’s life and many other people being uprooted from their homes.

However, I cannot praise enough the actions of the officers that day. Not only were they engaged in rescuing people and saving lives, but were arranging food, clothing and fresh medication to replace that which had been lost in the fire.

The three officers who went into the building suffered smoke inhalation as they put their own lives at risk to save others. All whilst the building threatened to collapse around them."

– Inspector Kim Brennand, Cumbria Police