Life-saving police sergeant’s bravery honoured

Mark Emery with his wife Lynne and Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith.
Mark Emery with his wife Lynne and Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith.

A RETIRED police sergeant who rescued an elderly couple from a burning flat has won a national bravery award.

Mark Emery was honoured at the Police Federation National Police Bravery Awards last night at a ceremony in London.

Mr Emery was off-duty and in the car with his son when he saw smoke and flames coming from the top floor flat of a four-storey building in Brighton Road, Worthing, in November 2012. He phoned the fire service and was instructed to stay outside.

Taking his life into his own hands, Mr Emery instead decided to enter the building and started to carry out a search.

He kicked in the front door and made his way to the top floor. He shouted through the letterbox of a flat and tried unsuccessfully to gain entry. Two elderly residents in the neighbouring flat initially refused to open their door to leave the premises or to believe that he was a police officer.

After posting his warrant card through the letter box, the door was eventually opened but with the chain on. Mr Emery could see that the elderly man was holding a knife, but he finally managed to persuade him that he was a police officer and that the building was on fire. He took the elderly couple to safety. On the way down he banged on the doors of each flat to make sure no-one was left inside.

The fire service arrived as he was leaving the building and went on to rescue the occupant of a burning flat who had been overcome with smoke inhalation.

Sussex Police Federation secretary Mark White said: “Sergeant Emery had been nominated because he put himself at risk by entering a four-storey building to ensure none of the occupants were put at risk. He spent more than 15 minutes attempting to alert all other occupants and assisted in the removal of two elderly occupants. His prompt actions saved the life of one man and prevented the potential loss of life of two other people. This was especially impressive as Sergeant Emery was a permanently restricted officer having suffered a broken back in a training accident in 2010. Sergeant Emery is a very quiet and unassuming man who didn’t even tell his colleagues what he had done. It only came to light when the fire service contacted his supervisors to inform them of his bravery.”

He received a Chief Constable’s Commendation in 2013 for his actions.