Fire fighters and police officers who risked their lives to save trapped guests and staff have been recognised for their bravery.

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FIRE fighters and police officers who saved the lives of 55 guests at Tantons Hotel in Bideford when fire broke out last year will be recognised for their bravery.

Crews from Appledore and Bideford, and three police officers from the next door police station rushed to the scene on May 31, 2011.

On arrival, the crews were confronted by a severe fire within the top floor of the four-storey hotel and a number of residents were trapped on a second floor roof by flames and thick smoke.

Crews used ladders to rescue the residents before fire fighters in breathing apparatus entered the building and worked their way to the top floor through extreme heat and heavy smoke to aid the escape of a number of elderly residents.

The police officers had heard screams for help from the nearby police station and after running to investigate, entered the building to start the evacuation and attempt rescues.

Despite being confronted by thick black smoke and obvious risk to their lives, the officers systematically evacuated the hotel and stopped a man from falling through a fire damaged floor.

Lee Howell, chief fire officer, said: “Each crew member upheld the best traditions of the Fire and Rescue Service and deserve recognition for their part in dealing with an extremely challenging incident.

“And there is no doubt that the selfless and courageous actions of the police officers helped save lives that otherwise would have been lost.”

Fire fighters Chris Boden, Kathryn Deighton, Neil Hole, Shane Martin, Alan Pearce, Rebecca Pridham, Matt Shortridge, David Slade, Robert Slade, Chris Smailes and Gary Wreford (all from Bideford); and Tony Cole, Simon Fiddy, Raymond Rose, Richard Stokes, Danny Thomlinson and Nick Williams (from Appledore) will all receive awards.

The police officers also being honoured are Sergeant Paul Vincent, PC Tim Cramp and WPC Sarah Conybeer.

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