A police officer from Leeds, who rescued a family from a fire at their home earlier this month, has been praised for his bravery and quick response to a potentially fatal incident.
Response officer, PC Umer Saeed, was called out to a house in the Ireland Wood area of the city in the early hours after receiving a 999 call from a child.
Upon arrival at the Luttrell Crescent address, the officer and his colleague saw the family in the upstairs window looking ‘distressed’, as smoke spread through the home.
With the fire service still not in attendance, the officer grabbed a brick to smash through a downstairs window and climbed into the premises with the help of a garden chair.
PC Saeed said: “We needed to get to the family as soon as possible and the front and back doors were high security ones that we knew we couldn’t break down.
“I’ve had specialist training in getting in to buildings and identified the kitchen window as the most viable access point. I found a brick and smashed the window then climbed in.
“The smoke was acrid and I couldn’t breathe but I was focused on finding them and getting them out in one piece. It was quite a disorientating situation with the smoke alarm going off.”
The fire had started after the cooker was left on by accident and despite attempts by the mother to control the situation by throwing a cloth over it, the blaze continued.
She retreated from the smoke to an upstairs bedroom with her children where the fire service were then called.
This is where PC Saeed found the family. “I ran up the stairs and checked every room before I found them in the furthest bedroom,” he added.
“I ascertained where the keys for the doors were, as I didn’t want to get them out of the room, until I had a clear escape route to take them out.
“The front door was locked and they didn’t have a key but they told me there was one in the back door. I ran back down to the kitchen and opened the back door and went upstairs and started getting them out. Fire fighters were on scene by this point, and I handed over to them”.
The officer said he didn’t worry about the danger he was in during the fire, and acted as quickly as possible – the same way he would have for his own family.
“I didn’t think of it as putting myself at risk,” he said. “I quickly assessed the situation and decided I could get in safely and get them out. I could see they were frightened and needed immediate help.”
The incident happened on the morning of 3rd January and PC Saeed has been back since to see the family who were staying with a relative after the fire.
Temporary Chief Superintendent Mabs Hussain, Leeds District Commander, praised the officer’s work and commended his ‘bravery’.
“PC Saeed clearly displayed the qualities of bravery and professionalism that we so often see from our officers and staff in situations where people are in danger,” he said.
“He could see this family needed immediate help and his training gave him the confidence to assess the situation and intervene to bring them to safety from a potentially life-threatening situation.
“I am very proud to have officers like him out there helping to keep our communities safe.”