IT was a dramatic rescue that saw the emergency services risking their own lives to save a great-grandmother from her blazing home.
Four brave police officers went beyond the call of duty as they stepped into action with fire crews to rescue Elizabeth Sanger-Davies as the inferno engulfed her house in the grounds of Stroud School near Romsey.
So there were emotional scenes when the pensioner came face-to-face with her heroes on Monday evening.
The 85-year-old and three generations of her family wiped away tears as they embraced police and fire crews at a special awards evening at Romsey fire station.
The drama unfolded in February last year when PC William Nye and Special Constable James Reading were called into action after reports that the pensioner’s home was being burgled.
On arrival they discovered a car fire had spread to the building.
They and colleague PC Adrian Starr found a ladder and PC Starr attempted to climb through a window to reach Mrs Sanger-Davies.
Seconds later their colleague Sergeant Alison West reached through and pulled Mrs Sanger-Davies away from the flames and smoke and held her on the window ledge until firefighters arrived.
It was then over to firefighter James Macdonald and temporary crew manager Philip Nicholson who climbed up to rescue her.
More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze which took three hours to extinguish.
Mrs Sanger-Davies suffered burns to her back and neck, as well as smoke inhalation, but was discharged from hospital that day.
Detectives launched an arson probe but nobody was arrested.
Her daughter, Judith Gregory, 61, from Romsey, said: “It was outstanding bravery and it’s a miracle she’s here. “They are heroes and they wentway beyond the call of duty. We can’t emphasise the bravery they showed.”
After receiving his certificate, PC Nye said: “It’s one of those occasions where you don’t think about it. You just do all you can to help.”
PC Reading said: “We knew we had a job to do and act as quickly as we could. To meet the lady again means more than anything to me.”
Praising the work of his officers Superintendent James Fulton said: “This is a fantastic example of the selfless work of the police and the emergency services.” Praising the work of his officers Superintendent James Fulton said: “This is a fantastic example of the selfless work of the police and the emergency services.”