West Yorkshire officer who saved family from a burning home named overall Police Bravery winner
14 July 2016
A West Yorkshire officer, who entered a burning home multiple times to save a family, has been named overall winner at the Police Bravery Awards 2016.
After being named as a Region 2 (North East) winner earlier in the evening, PC Sean Cannon was also named as the overall winner for his efforts in helping save the lives of five members of the same family.
The awards, held in London and 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 Constable's 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 Home Secretary Amber Rudd, PC Sean Cannon said: “It's absolutely mind blowing to win the overall award. Everyone else here tonight deserves this, I feel like I'm in very good company. I never imagined anything like this would ever happen. It could have ended so differently but as well as winning this award I'm really thankful that the family managed to get out alive."
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “In this phenomenal job that I have been asked to do I'm just a little bit in awe to hear these personal stories which will remind me of the individuals that make up this extraordinary, wonderful police service.
"I want to thank the Police Federation for this event which has made a dramatic and personable impression on me, my first event as Home Secretary."
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.”
Stephen Mann, CEO of Police Mutual, said: “Police Mutual is extremely proud to sponsor the Police Bravery Awards, especially on this important milestone of 21 years. The awards recognise the courage of police officers who face extremely challenging situations every day to keep the public safe. Our ongoing, long-term commitment to support these awards reflects the incredible respect we have for the work of the police service.”
Winners from each of our eight regions were also named on the night