Apr 23 2012 By Jane Harrison
Ealing Police Sergeant Philip Thomas has been nominated for a Pride in Ealing Award.
A POLICE officer who rescued an elderly woman and her cat from a burning building and was promoted on the spot, is in the running for the Gazette's Pride in Our People Awards.
Philip Thomas was promoted from PC to sergeant by former Commissioner John Stevens at an informal dinner. Sgt Thomas, 49, based at Ealing police station, plays down both events.
He said: “I happened to sit down next to the Commissioner who started asking me questions, almost like an interview. Then he said: ‘I am promoting you to sergeant.’ I went a PC and came back a sergeant. It was so unusual. I didn't think I deserved it.”
He also didn't think he deserved a Sun award after rushing into burning flats in Hayes in 1998. He said: “I saw people rushing out of the flats and the flames were blue, like gas flames. A window had smashed and there was melting plastic. I couldn't wait for the fire brigade. You see what people do on TV and I thought: ‘I can do that’ so I put my coat over my head and went in.”
“The woman moved really slowly and I didn't want to panic her by rushing but then she said she wouldn't go without her cat so I found it in the bedroom. It was all claws and teeth, hissing and spitting and the only way to get it out was to boot it through the flames. The old lady didn't have a singe but my coat and beard was singed a bit. It's amazing what you can do and she was so grateful. I was ecstatic to get the award.”
Sgt Thomas, originally from Swansea, has lived in Ealing throughout his service. He was nominated by a member of the public in the key worker category who said: “Sgt Thomas has given over 20 years dedicated service to the Ealing community and received an award for running through a flaming building to rescue an elderly resident and her cat. As he is reaching retirement age it would be a kind gesture for him to receive an award for his dedication and work for the people of Ealing.”
A father-of-four and grandfather of eight, Sgt Thomas, said it was ‘lovely’ to be nominated.