31 Mar 2009

Safety First!

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In the good old days, police actually used to rescue people in danger. Today, however, as we see in a recent incident in Britain, they are more likely to devote their energies to preventing bystanders and civilians from taking risks and getting involved while waiting for the appropriate official agency to arrive.

London Times:

A pregnant woman, her husband and their three-year-old son were killed in a house fire early yesterday as police who arrived before the fire brigade prevented neighbours from trying to save them. The woman screamed: “Please save my kids” from a bedroom window and neighbours tried to help but were beaten back by flames and were told by police not to attempt a rescue.

By the time firefighters got into the house in Doncaster, Michelle Colly, 25, her husband, Mark, 29, and son, Louis, 3, were dead. Their daughter, Sophie, 5, was taken to hospital and believed to be critically ill.

Davey Davis, 38, a friend of the family, said: “It was the most harrowing thing I have ever witnessed. Michelle was at the bedroom window yelling, ‘Please save my kids’ and we wanted to help but the police were pushing us back and not allowing us near. We were willing to risk our lives to save those kiddies but the police wouldn’t let us.

“Tempers were running very high, particularly with the women who were there, but the police were just saying we have to wait for the fire brigade because of health and safety.

“There were four or five police officers. They were here before the fire brigade. We heard the sirens and we came across to help but they wouldn’t let us. …

Another resident, who asked not to be named, added: “There were lads with aluminium ladders who wanted to get to them but the police were shouting, ‘Stay away, get out of the yard.’ They were saying, ‘You have got to wait until the fire brigade gets here.’ Michelle was standing at the window banging on it – we all saw it – and shouting to save her kids but the police were just below her pushing us out and telling everybody to stay away.” …

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The senior officer in charge is confident we handled this incident as professionally as possible.


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