Published: 17:18, 16 September 2021
| Updated: 17:50, 16 September 2021
A heroic police officer who repeatedly ran into a burning block of flats to save residents has been praised for his actions.
PC Brandon Fulford rushed to the scene of the fire in Lucerne Drive, Seasalter, near Whitstable, after Andrea Harte torched her flat.
Despite battling shortness of breath due to smoke inhalation, he kept returning to the flaming building to ensure three other residents got out.
Harte, 60, was jailed for three years at Canterbury Crown Court last week after admitting arson.
At the hearing, Judge Weekes praised the actions of PC Brandon Fulford and his colleague PC Simon Reed on the night of the fire and gave a judicial commendation to PC Fulford.
The two officers were on patrol in the Canterbury area when they were called to the block of flats shortly before 11pm on April 7.
After arriving, they gained entry to the building and realised Harte had set fire to her property using an accelerant.
Harte was removed and later arrested. PC Fulford, meanwhile, ran upstairs and banged on the doors to wake and evacuate other residents.
At one point, he became short of breath, so went downstairs before returning upstairs to force his way into a flat where no one had responded, and take a man to safety.
He then returned to another flat to help the occupant and her dog get out of the building.
"PC Fulford showed great bravery in returning to the upper floor to ensure everyone was out of the building..."
Fire crews arrived to put out the flames, and PC Fulford was taken to hospital suffering the effects of breathing in smoke.
Canterbury District Commander Chief Insp Mark Hedges said: "Police officers' first concern is always the preservation of life and these two officers did exactly that on the night of this arson.
"PC Fulford showed great bravery in returning to the upper floor to ensure everyone was out of the building and his actions ensured this was not a far more serious incident.
"The response to this call underlines my pride in my officers and illustrates the courage and professionalism they show every day while attending often dangerous and unpredictable situations."