A Police Community Support Officer, who’s quick-thinking to rescue a mother and her baby, will be honoured this week.
The lives of Mrs Sadia Shafique and her infant daughter, Hina, were saved when PCSO Stuart Garnett leapt into action and guided them to safety out of their burning home.
On the morning of Thursday, June 7, three fire engines and their crews responsed to a 999 call saying that someone was trapped in a fire in a house on Nimes Street, Preston after a TV on standby burst into flames in a downstairs lounge.
When the firefighters arrived they discovered that Stuart had already pitched a neighbour’s ladder to an open bedroom window where Mrs Shafique was holding her baby, with smoke billowing out of the terraced property.
Mrs Shafique entrusted her daughter, Hina to Stuart who then carried the baby down the ladder to hand her to paramedics.
Stuart climbed the ladder once more to encourage Sadia to climb out of the window the ladder, which she was reluctant to do.
Firefighters then took over from the heroic PCSO and brought Sadia down to safety.
A Commendation ceremony will take place at 2pm on Wednesday November 14 at Preston Fire Station, Blackpool Road, Preston, where Mrs Shafique and her daughter, who were both treated for smoke inhalation at the Royal Preston Hospital, will meet and thank Stuart and firefighter rescuers.
Station Manager Gary West said; “The situation PCSO Stuart Garnett faced that morning could so easily have resulted in tragedy if he had not taken the lifesaving decision to pitch the ladder and go to the rescue.
“It took courage, a cool head and a commendable lack of hesitation in making a crucial lifesaving decision that has earned Stuart the award of the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation and our profound respects and gratitude.
“Up to that point Mrs Shafique was caught up in the terrible dilemma of whether to drop Hina into the arms of people who were offering to catch her, but the fall could have gone badly and Stuart prevented that.”
At the time of the rescue PCSO Garnett, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Early Intervention Team, said: “I was going to another address on the estate when the call was given out over the radio.
“As I turned the corner I could see a lot of people on Nimes Street and I could see the baby being held out of the window.
“Everyone was telling this lady to drop the baby and they would catch it but I didn’t think it was a good idea.
“I couldn’t tell you what was going through my head. I just wanted to help.”
He added: “I think luck had a lot to do with it. It was lucky the ladders were there, and lucky that I was just around the corner.”