Officers praised for rescuing children from burning Uxbridge building

Rescue from Uxbridge Window | Hillingdon Today
Image taken outside the flats where Acting Sergeant Tony Ruth climbed up to the window of a flat to rescue three children / Metropolitan Police Service

A police officer who helped rescue a family from a smoke-filled building has been recognised for his bravery.

Officers were on a routine patrol in Uxbridge shortly after midday on 27 December, when they noticed smoke coming from the underground storage area of a block of flats on Station Road.

As they got closer to the building it became apparent that there was a fire and that smoke was spreading quickly through the building. Assistance from the London Fire Brigade was requested but officers knew that time was critical.

After checking the ground floor of the four-flat block and helping a resident leave the building, the officers heard a woman calling for help from one of the upper flats. She shouted that she was trapped due to the smoke and that she had three children and another adult with her.

Immediate action was required, and with the help of members of the public who provided a ladder, the officers were able to guide one of the adults down to safety.

Acting Sergeant Tony Ruth, part of the emergency response team based at Hillingdon, then removed his body armour before climbing up to the window of the flat to rescue each of the three children.

The second adult was then guided down the ladder to safety.

There were no other people present inside the building at the time of the fire.

The family were taken to hospital as a precaution but thanks to the quick reactions of Acting Police Sergeant Ruth, his colleagues and the public, they were not seriously injured.

A/PS Ruth was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation and was discharged following treatment.

On Monday (7 February), he was recognised for his actions when he was named ‘officer of the month’ for the West Area Command Unit which is made up of the boroughs of Hillingdon, Hounslow and Ealing.

His colleagues, PC Dave Collinswood and PC Ryan James, were also recognised for the important part they played in the response to the fire.

After receiving his award, A/PS Ruth, said: “It’s great to be recognised in this way but it’s important that this incident and everything we do in this role is a team effort.

“You really never know what each call will bring working on a response team. Incidents like this show that what we do is about so much more than making arrests.

“We can make a real difference and I’m very glad we were able to help and that the family got out without being hurt.

“I’d like to thank the public too who were quick to get a ladder and help us when we needed it. They were fantastic.”

Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, policing commander for the West Area Command Unit, said: “It goes without saying that the quick-thinking and courageous actions of A/PS Ruth, PC Collinswood and PC James, with the assistance of members of the public, potentially saved the lives of this young family. “They have demonstrated the best qualities that we expect in our officers, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the public. I, and all their colleagues on the West Area Command Unit, are immensely proud of them.”