‘We got down on our bellies and just crawled in’ Northampton PCs speak about dramatic burning house rescue

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The two police officers who crawled into a burning house to save an elderly lady’s life have recalled the dramatic rescue.

PC Matt Baker and PC Taylor Ellis attended the house in Woodland Close, Duston, Northampton, after a 999 call was received asking for help – but with no specific information about the type of emergency.

PC Baker said: “We went along without really knowing the details of the call. I went to the bay window to peer through and the glass felt really hot. As I did that, my colleague opened the porch and plumes of smoke came out. At this point we called the fire brigade.

“I forced the door and saw thick, black smoke pouring out. I called in to see if anyone was there and heard a voice from the back of the building.

“There was about a foot gap of clearer air, so we got on our bellies and crawled through the house.”

Finding a woman, aged in her 90s, the officers were able to rescue her from the house, where she was then taken to hospital and kept in for monitoring. Both officers were also treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Fire crews soon arrived from Moulton, Mereway and The Mounts fire stations to extinguish the blaze. They later found the living room was severely damaged by fire and there was smoke damage to the remainder of the property.

PC Ellis said: “I have only been in the force for two years and this was the first experience I have had with a house fire. When you realise someone is inside, your main goal simply becomes preservation of life.

“I’m just so glad the lady survived. Her family rang me and, to my understanding, she was expected to leave hospital after a few days.”

Chief Constable Simon Edens said: “I am very proud of Taylor and Matt. As officers in Northamptonshire Police, they are here to protect people from harm and they acted quickly and decisively to literally save a life on Friday morning.

“I was very pleased to get the chance to thank them personally and to check that they are ok.

“I hope the lady involved in this incident is making a good recovery; it is to her credit that she had the presence of mind to phone 999 when her life was in danger, giving PC Ellis and PC Baker the chance to help her.”

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