A cop has been praised as “amazing” and an “inspiration” after being crowned Britain’s bravest bobby.
PC Sean Cannon, 45, risked his own life and went into a house three times to rescue a family from a fierce fire in Bradford, West Yorks., in June last year.
The officer had seen 11-year-old Daniel Herak jumping from a house, shouting: “Fire, fire” when he sprang into action.
He ran through a wall of flames between the front door and the stairs six times and rescued four children – two girls and two boys aged between three and 13 – as well as their great-aunt who suffers from epilepsy. One was in an attic bedroom.
Speaking at the time, the heroic PC said: “The fire was between the front door and the stairs, I just had to go through it. There was no other way.
“I just didn’t think about it, all the adrenalin was pumping. I just did what I had to.”
Jan Herak, 46, the children’s father, who was not at home when the fire started in the living room, said he was extremely grateful for PC Cannon’s quick-thinking.
“The police officer saved my children’s lives. I’m very happy that he did it. I feel very grateful to him that he rescued my family.
“There was so much smoke. The kids were so scared.”
“My 11-year-old son jumped out of an upstairs bedroom window. He said he panicked when he saw the smoke. My neighbour caught him as he fell.”
“I’m really happy today that everybody is okay and that we are safe. I just feel relieved. It was a lucky day that no-one was hurt any further.”
The family was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary for smoke inhalation treatment and the PC Cannon was given oxygen treatment at the scene.
In recognition of his bravery, PC Cannon has been awarded the annual Royal Humane Society’s Police medal, which is given to the police officer in the UK who has shown the greatest gallantry during the previous year.
At a glittering awards ceremony in London, the society’s President, HRH Princess Alexandra also awarded him the Royal Humane Society Bronze medal, which is given to people who have put their own lives at great risk to save or attempt to save someone else.
A colleague who was with PC Cannon at the scene, PCSO Simon Meakin, was also awarded one of the Society’s Certificates of Commendation for his part in the rescue.
It’s not the first time PC Cannon has been involved in a heroic rescue. Two years ago, he dragged a man from a house fire in Bradford Manor.
Dee Collins, Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, attended the event and described PC Cannon as “amazing” and an “inspiration.”
She tweeted: “So incredibly proud to be present to see PC Sean Cannon receiving the Royal Humane Society Annual Police Medal #whatastar”.
The West Yorkshire Police Federation also spoke of their pride on social media.
A post on its Twitter account read: “A humble man who did an extraordinary brave and selfless act. A credit to WYP.”
PC Cannon has also been nominated at the for a Police Bravery award and will find out if he wins at a an evening awards ceremony in London on 14 July.
He will also attend a reception at Downing Street.
Nick Smart, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “We’re really proud to have nominated Sean for his actions on that day. ”
Speaking about his award, PC Sean Cannon said: “Just being nominated was wonderful.
“I was chuffed with the Bronze medal, it is a real honour as only four were handed out last year.
“When I was told I would be getting the Police medal as well I was just absolutely amazed, I just sat there in shock.
“It was a lovely day, I was able to take my partner and my parents and I was bursting with pride.
“I wasn’t able to look my mum in the eye as she just kept crying.
“This kind of recognition is the stuff of childhood dreams.”