THREE Buckingham police community support officers have been commended for bravery after they rescued people from a burning building in the middle of the night.
PCSOs Steve Staley, Laurence Spring and Alex Trivino were awarded the Local Police Area Commander’s Commendation for their bravery and dedication to duty when responding to an arson at Ryeland, on the Moreton Road housing estate, in March.
All three were presented with certificates by Supt George Wrigley last week.
On the night of the arson, the PCSOs were first on the scene.
Resident Mark Hatton, aged 41, said the fire started between midnight and 1am when someone set light to his partner’s moped which was parked outside, full of petrol. The moped blew up, destroying Mr Hatton’s own motorbike parked next to it.
The fire took hold of the flats’ communal stairwell.
Mr Hatton, who lives on the second floor, said people’s lives were in danger because fire alarms didn’t go off.
“We didn’t hear it, we were asleep,” he said. “Our neighbour woke us up by banging and banging on our door.
“We went to get out but the police were putting the fire out. The fire was at the entrance so nobody could get out anyway.
“The entire hallway was full of smoke. You couldn’t see the stairs.”
The PCSOs evacuated 17 people from the smoke-filled building and tackled the fire until the fire service and police colleagues arrived.
Mr Hatton said: “I’m very grateful to them. Another few minutes and it could have been a lot worse.”
Insp Emma Garside said: “I am very proud of the officers.
“They found themselves first on scene at a burning building and acted swiftly to identify those at risk and evacuate them from their homes. The officers attempted to tackle the fire themselves and in doing so reduced the risk of it causing more damage and spreading further than it did.
“They were calm, professional and put themselves at risk to help others.”