Officer who saved family from burning home wins North East Bravery Award

14 July 2016

A West Yorkshire officer, PC Sean Cannon, who entered a burning home multiple times to save a family, was tonight named as the Region 2 (North East) winner at the 21st Police Bravery Awards in London. The awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, honour and recognise police officers who perform outstanding acts of bravery while on or off duty.

On 27 June 2015, PC Cannon, attending another incident at the time, became aware of a house fire nearby after hearing shouting and seeing black smoke billowing from the windows of a home. Without regard for his own safety he ran inside but was soon forced back outside due to the thick smoke. Drawing breathe he re-entered the house rescuing two frightened children from a first floor bedroom, carrying one under each arm. Running back inside a further two times he rescued a child on each occasion. Thinking the house was empty, it soon became clear that another woman was still inside, somewhere in the second floor attic room. PC Cannon ran inside once again and was able to find and escort the 59-year-old woman to safety.
In all two girls aged five and nine, two boys aged three and 13 and their great aunt were saved. All occupants received medical attention but made a full recovery.

PC Cannon was awarded a Chief Constables Commendation for his Bravery and is to be awarded a Bronze Medal from The Royal Humane Society. He was also awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal.

On receiving the award from Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, PC Cannon said: “I feel very proud, pleased as punch just to be alongside these amazing people. I don't really don't know what to say. Everyone in here is a winner and I don't know how the judges managed to decide. I have two daughters who were in the back of my mind throughout the incident. I'd like to think that if they were in that situation someone would be there to save them."

Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “This was a situation in which Sean showed exceptional bravery, putting his own life at risk, to save the lives of others. The survival of those children and their great aunt is purely down to the brave and selfless actions of PC Cannon, who repeatedly put others’ safety before his own.”

Dee Collins, Temporary Chief Constable West Yorkshire Police, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Sean has won the regional Police Bravery Award representing West Yorkshire Police.

“Sean’s actions were absolutely outstanding on the evening in question – for an individual to put his life on the line and run into a burning building to rescue people a number of times is absolutely incredible.  Our communities need people like Sean to really demonstrate we are doing everything we can to keep them safe.”

Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Congratulations to all of the brave nominees this year. We are proud to continue our support for such an inspirational event in the Policing calendar and to be able to show our respect for the exceptional courage shown by Police Officers who risk their lives every day to protect the public.”