United Kingdom

Kent policeman bravely saves life of arsonist who started fire

Dramatic bodycam footage shows the moment a hero police officer saved an arsonist's life after dragging him out of a burning building which he set on fire. 

Sgt James Cattermole was one of two officers called to a house in Ashford, Kent, at 12.40am on Monday, May 3, after reports that Chris Pain was threatening to injure himself with a knife.

Pain, 57, refused to come out and hurled abuse at the sergeant and his colleague PC Louis Southon through the letterbox - before starting a fire in the living room.   

Kent Police Sgt James Cattermole (left) risked his life by climbing inside the property to save Pain (right), who was briefly hospitalised and sentenced to four years in prison 

Chris Pain, 57, locked himself and started a fire in a property in Ashford, Kent. He refused to leave and shouted at Sgt Cattermole, who pleaded with Pain to tell him how to unlock the door

Sgt Cattermole remained fairly calm and ignored the flames as he smashed the window of the back door open and brought Pain to safety 

They tried to speak to Pain through a window, as the property was locked but he shouted at them and started a fire. 

Sgt Cattermole then smashed a window and crawled through the property to try and save Pain, dragging him to the back door which was locked.

In the chilling clip, Sgt Cattermole's bodycam footage shows flames licking at a doorframe in the foreground as thick grey smoke billows around the kitchen. 

Pain can be seen limp and unhelpful as the brave policeman pleads with him to tell him how to unlock the door.

The pair couldn't escape through the front entrance as Pain had barricaded it with boxes.

Incredibly, throughout the clip Sgt Cattermole manages to keep relatively cool as he scours the property through swirling smoke and fire looking for an escape.

Upon realising that his colleague was trapped inside with no way out, PC Southon sprung to the rescue, rushing through to the back door and smashing through the glass pane.

In the nail-biting footage, Cattermole can be heard yelling: 'Smash it, smash it!' before the PC strikes the glass, sending shards flying into Pain's cluttered kitchen.

Pain then dragged out through the sizable gap by both cops before Sgt Cattermole makes his escape.

Further officers and Kent Fire and Rescue then attended the scene.

The blaze caused substantial damage to the property, but thanks to the two officers' quick thinking and bravery nobody was seriously injured.

Pain was briefly hospitalised following the incident.

Pain barricaded the front door with boxes and shouted at Cattermole and PC Southon when they tried to get him to come out of the building

He was sentenced to four years in prison with an extra two years on licence after admitting arson.

As he was jailed, the judge commended Sgt Cattermole's brave actions.

Alice Ames, Folkestone and Hythe District Commander, said: 'Every day, police officers are the first at the scene of unpredictable and dangerous incidents. Their first thought is always to maintain the safety of the public and preserve life.

'The response of the two officers who attended this call, which I believe saved the offender's life, is yet another example of the bravery and professionalism so often shown by our team.

'I hope the jail sentence handed down at court gives Christopher Pain a chance to reflect on his actions and, upon his release, he will no longer endanger himself, others or members of the emergency services.'

Locals flocked to Facebook to express their amazement after the footage was posted online.  

Peter Coverly said: 'Running into a burning building to save a criminal's life, this officer deserves a medal!' 

Amber Chimes wrote: 'Selfless act from a brave officer, great and impactive footage. Congratulations to all involved for preventing serious injury and fatality.' 

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