Sussex

Marlie Farm fireworks explosion police get awards

  • 7 July 2011
  • From the section Sussex
Sgt Daniel Pitcher and Pc David Upjohn
Sussex Police said both officers showed fearlessness and resolve in the face of danger

Two police officers who delivered first aid to injured casualties at the scene of a blast at a fireworks depot have been recognised for their bravery.

Sgt Daniel Pitcher and Pc David Upjohn were sent to the scene of a fire at Marlie Farm, East Sussex, in December 2006.

Two firefighters died in the blast and the depot owners were later jailed.

Sgt Pitcher and Pc Upjohn received the South Eastern award at the Police Bravery Awards in London on Thursday.

Sussex Police said both officers showed fearlessness and resolve in the face of extreme danger.

Geoff Wicker, 49, and Brian Wembridge, 63, from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, died in the blast.

Martin Winter, 52, was jailed for seven years, last year. His son Nathan, 25, got a five-year term, later cut to four years on appeal.

Fireworks and debris

Sgt Pitcher and Pc Upjohn were initially sent to the scene of the fire, near Ringmer, to assist with road closures and evacuating the area.

The depot was hit by a massive explosion, which sent fireworks and debris flying across site.

The force said the officers began administering first aid to injured colleagues and firefighters and went to the rear of the depot to rescue a man with a serious head wound.

Pc Upjohn gave him first and St Pitcher commandeered a nearby vehicle to drive the man to safety.

Both later remained at the scene to search for casualties and help with evacuation of the surrounding area.

The awards ceremony at The Savoy followed a reception at 10 Downing Street where nearly 60 nominees met Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May.

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