Hero Mersey cops in flats blaze rescue drama
FOUR police officers risked their own lives to lead two men to safety from a blazing Liverpool house.
The officers searched through thick black smoke to find the men at the top of a block of flats on Wavertree Road in Wavertree on April 14.
PC Tom McNally and PC Arwell Hughes, who are based at Admiral Street and cover the Wavertree and Picton areas, were the first members of the emergency services at the scene shortly before 3pm, along with Sgt Alan Wood and another officer.
The officers went into the smoke-filled building and found the fire in a ground floor room at the back of the building.
PC Hughes, 30, closed the door to the room to slow the spread of the fire before the officers conducted a room-by-room search to locate anyone trapped inside.
In a flat on the top floor they found two eastern European men, aged 27 and 32, and escorted them unharmed to safety.
The fire was later put out by firefighters from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. Investigators are now examining whether it was started deliberately.
PC McNally, 38, from Runcorn, said: “PC Hughes and I were in the area on another job when we heard about the fire over the radio so we were able to get there straight away.
“We weren't sure if there was anyone trapped inside so we went in and the ground floor was full of smoke. It was obvious the fire was burning too strongly for us to put out.
“So we went from room to room checking there was no-one in.
“It was really difficult because the building was like a maze and each flat was full of black smoke. You had to scramble around each room opening all the cupboards and doors.”
The officers found two men in a flat on the top floor watching television, who were unaware of the extent of the fire.
PC McNally said: “They were a bit distressed when we led them outside but thankfully they were not hurt.’’
He added: “At the time your training just kicks in, and your priority is to protect life so you don't think about it – but afterwards we realised the severity of the fire.”
PC Hughes, who has been with the force for three-and-a- half years, added: “That's the first time I've entered a burning building but we just cracked on with it because we knew there were people inside.”
Wavertree area neighbourhood Inspector Ian Black praised all four officers for their actions.
He said: “They put their own lives in danger to make sure that those of the people inside the building were saved.” THE ECHO