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Katy in line for national Police Bravery Award

An off-duty officer who went into a burning house to save the elderly occupant has been nominated for the national Police Bravery Award.

PC 4280 Katy Burnham saved 90-year-old Jan Bielski in August 2014. She was at her home preparing to go to work when she heard an alarm going off nearby. Within minutes she had saved Jan, who suffers from dementia, from his burning home.

She has now been nominated for the Police Bravery Award 2016 - an award which is presented annually to honour police officers who have performed outstanding acts of bravery while on or off-duty.

She was put forward by Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch.

"Katy was acting in the finest traditions of policing when, even though she was not on duty, she instinctively responded to an emergency," says Tiff, "Every day police officers run towards danger as others run away, often putting their own lives on the line.

"Katy was able to help this elderly gentleman, protecting him from harm in a situation which could have had tragic consequences."

Once Katy had heard the alarm going off she went to investigate and found it was coming from Jan's house. She could see inside the property, knew he was vulnerable and made several attempts to get his attention. He eventually answered the door before turning round and walking straight towards the flames in the kitchen.

Despite Katy's best efforts at speaking to Jan, he would not leave the property and so she had to escort him from his home, being mindful of his age, his difficulty in walking and his mental wellbeing.

Once out of the property Jan wanted to go back into the house and Katy had to use a combination of restraint and communication skills to make sure that he did not go back inside.

It later transpired Jan had been on the phone to his daughter at the time of the incident, who has said had Katy not taken the action she did the outcome could have been totally different, stating: "If it wasn't for her quick-thinking and courageous actions, my father would have most certainly been killed in the fire."

Katy has already been awarded a Chief Constable's commendation for bravery (2015) and received an award from The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire in March 2016.

PS 1842 Wayne Nimblette who recommended Katy for the nomination said: "PC Burnham should be commended for her bravery and self-motivation in extremely difficult circumstances."

This year's awards will take place in London on Thursday 14 July.