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Officer nominated for national bravery award for running into burning building

PolFed Chair Mark Loker, Chief Constable Sarah Crew and PCC Mark Shelford with PC Justin Robbie and his wife.

We’d like to congratulate one of our police officers following his nomination for a National Police Bravery Award.

PC Justin Robbie ran into a burning residential tower block with no protective equipment and saved the lives of two men who had climbed out of a top floor window.

The Response officer last night (Thursday 13 July) attended an awards ceremony in London and while he didn’t win an award, his nomination is something everyone at Avon and Somerset Police is proud of.

On 25 September last year we received a call a man had tragically died after falling from the top floor of a tower block in Easton, Bristol, after trying to escape a fire inside.

PC Robbie one of the first officers to arrive at the scene and while his colleagues prevented anyone else from entering the flats, he began climbing the stairs and directing residents to exit the building.

On locating the fire in a 16th floor flat he opened its fire door to check if anyone was still inside only to be knocked back by the smoke and heat.

He then heard shouts for help coming from outside and saw two men hanging from a window ledge.

Using his baton, he smashed a double-glazed window and together with the help of a firefighter, he pulled the two men to safety.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street yesterday following a reception with the Home Secretary ahead of the awards ceremony, PC Robbie said: “It is an honour to be recognised with this nomination but, like all officers, we don’t do it for the awards.

“I acted on my training and my automatic response kicked in. When everyone is running away from the danger, we run towards it.

“Sadly, one person had already died and all I could think about was ‘I need to get in there and make sure no-one else is hurt’. I didn’t think about my own safety, I just acted and luckily I was able to get to those two men and get them out safely.

“It is fantastic to be able to say I saved someone’s life by being there.

“I want to thank my colleagues, including my Sergeant and Inspector, for checking in on me and for the support provided to me by the Police Federation.”

PC Justin Robbie with his wife with Big Ben in the background.
PC Justin Robbie attended a reception at 10 Downing Street.

Chief Constable Sarah Crew said: “Police officers and staff encounter difficult and often harrowing situations on a daily basis and regularly put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect the public.

“However, running into a burning building with the knowledge someone has already tragically died in order to save others is an act of true heroism.

“PC Robbie remained calm in a highly dangerous situation and together with a firefighter worked swiftly and efficiently to rescue two men.

“While someone very sadly lost their life in the fire, had PC Robbie not shown such courage and selflessness the tragedy could have been even worse.

“I’m extremely proud to have someone of PC Robbie’s character and professionalism working for Avon and Somerset Police – his actions on that night exemplify the very best of British policing.”

Avon and Somerset Police Federation Chair Mark Loker said: “PC Robbie put his life in great danger by entering a burning building without any breathing apparatus or fire protection equipment.

“He remained calm, communicated his actions clearly and worked quickly under extreme pressure to ensure the safety of all the occupants of the tower block.

“He took the lead at this extremely distressing and pressured situation.

“He ensured the safety of the public and his colleagues and his actions were selfless, courageous and deserving of recognition.”