Brave officers in fire rescue will be honoured at awards ceremony

Two South Wales officers nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards for attempting to save the life of a 92-year-old man who was trapped in a burning building will be honoured at a ceremony in London this week.

PC Thomas Scourfield was off duty and driving back from the gym when he spotted the blaze in Talbot Road, Baglan. He could hear screaming from inside the property and forced his way in to find a woman throwing water onto an elderly man who was on fire in the yard, near to the back door of the property.

Sergeant Geraint Jenkins, who was on the last day of his secondment to the arson reduction unit, was driving his fire service vehicle when he noticed thick black smoke billowing from the rear of the property.

He climbed in to find a shed on fire and the motionless body of the elderly man on the ground surrounded by flames. Panels from the shed were disintegrating and falling onto the man as he lay on the floor.

Believing the windows would shatter at any moment due to the intense heat, PC Scourfield guided the woman, who had burns to her hands and forehead, out of the property.

Family members tried spraying water onto the elderly man with a garden hose but the water flow was too weak.

Having taken the woman to safety, PC Scourfield returned to try to rescue the man but the outside structure of the shed had now fallen completely on him and only his hands could be seen.

Sgt Jenkins was unable to reach him due to the intensity of the fire. He instructed members of the household to soak towels, which he covered himself with for protection while he tried to pull the man from the fire.

He then realised there were possibly barbecue gas canisters in the shed so moved the barbecue to a safe distance, before returning to the injured man.

The man had severe burns to his head, face and body and was not breathing. Sgt Jenkins attempted CPR until the arrival of the paramedics and air ambulance doctors but, sadly, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both officers have been nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards by South Wales Police Federation for their actions on 12 April 2019

Branch chair Steve Treharne said: “These two officers did everything they could to save this gentleman. They put their own lives on the line to respond to an incident that they both happened upon, with PC Scourfield not even being on duty that day and Sgt Jenkins noticing the blaze as he drove past.

“They were incredibly brave and selfless, and displayed a real commitment to serving the public and protecting the people in their communities.”

The annual Police Bravery Awards, sponsored by Police Mutual, honour some of the finest officers in England and Wales who have performed incredible acts of bravery, while on or off duty. 

The ceremony was due to be held in London in July last year but was postponed due to the pandemic.

It will now be staged on Tuesday (12 October). A total of 94 brave officers from forces across England and Wales have been put forward for an award.