Brave police duo team up with Gravesend public to rescue mother and daughter from burning home

PUBLISHED: 13:26 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 September 2017

Police constables Ben Watts and Andrew Simpson were on patrol when they saw the fire in West Street shortly after 1pm on Thursday, August 31.

Police constables Ben Watts and Andrew Simpson were on patrol when they saw the fire in West Street shortly after 1pm on Thursday, August 31.


Two police constables have been applauded for their bravery

A pair of Gravesend police officers hailed for their bravery after saving a mother and her teenage daughter from a burning building have in turn praised the town’s community.

Police constables Ben Watts and Andrew Simpson were on patrol in West Street on Thursday when they saw smoke billowing from a four-storey house just after 1pm.

“We knew there were two people on the first floor, a mother and daughter, they said they were trapped and couldn’t get out,” said police constable Ben Watts.

Together with fellow PC, Andrew Simpson, the officers burst into the property, but were soon beaten back by smoke and heat.

“It was impossible to walk more than a few feet in the main corridor, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face,” added PC Simpson.

Struggling to get inside, the officers instead looked to the help of neighbours to carry out the rescue.

PC Watts explained: “I asked a member of the public for a ladder, shortly after, myself and three others put it up and encouraged the mum and daughter to climb down.

“They had to dangle over the edge and trust all of us below as the ladder was only a few steps high.”

Once they made their escape, the mother and daughter, along with another woman, were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

On arrival firefighters brought the blaze under control by 4.30pm, also rescuing a dog from the scene.

“The Gravesend community really rallied together and offered their support and assistance, the banded together to help others when it mattered most,” added PC Watts.

“Andy and I would like to thank those who assisted us with the ladder and getting the victims out of the building, as well as KFRS and the Red Cross who provided a first class service.”

Chief constable of Kent Police Alan Pughsley expressed his pride for the officers, saying: “Ben and Andrew’s actions are a testament to themselves and Kent Police.

“We also cannot forget it was the helpful actions of the Gravesend community which ensured a more tragic set of circumstances were avoided.

“This is the perfect example of how officers don’t just investigate crime but also protect the public no matter how challenging or dangerous the circumstances.”

Kent Fire and Rescue service area manager Lee Rose said of the PCs: “They put their lives on the line to rescue the trapped women and could quite easily and quickly have been overcome by smoke and flames. Their quick-thinking and bravery is to be commended.”

The fire is not being treated as suspicious.

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