Corringham: Essex Police couple commended for brave fire rescue
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A brave Essex Police couple who saved their elderly neighbours and seven pets from their burning home have been commended by the Chief Constable.
The Corringham bungalow burst into flames on 18 June 2023 after being struck by lightning during a storm.
Dog handler PC Dave Bridge and his wife Samantha, a criminal justice support officer, were woken up by ‘an explosion’ at 3.30am and soon realised their neighbour’s home was ablaze.
Knowing the couple, Barry and Margaret, had mobility issues, Dave and Samantha rushed out and braved thick smoke and a collapsing ceiling to rescue them, plus their six dogs and their cat.
At the time, Dave explained how he and another neighbour banged on the windows and, when Barry answered the door, he and Samantha rushed in.
He said then:
“Samantha set about getting hold of Barry and Margaret and taking them outside. “I took all the dogs, one by one, under my arm and put them in the back of their car. “While I was doing that, the ceilings were alight and the ceiling in the kitchen fell down. The smoke was horrendous – it was stinging your eyes. By the time we got outside the whole roof was alight.”
Now the couple have been commended by Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington for their selfless and quick-thinking actions.
“It is always a pleasure to commend police officers and staff who have helped to save people’s lives. “In the true tradition of British policing, Dave and Samantha entered a burning house to rescue their elderly neighbours without thought for their own safety. “They went above and beyond to save two lives, at great risk to their own.”
The street is a community where, say Dave and Samantha, everyone looks out for each other.
Dave says of being commended:
“I was just doing my bit for our neighbours in the street. There was no question that we wouldn’t get into their house and get them out. It was an automatic impulse.”
“People down the street were bringing out cups of tea. A couple of neighbours allowed Barry and Margaret to sit in their house until the ambulance came. “It’s lovely that we’ve been recognised but the whole community pulled together that night.”
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