A hero police single-handedly saved seven people from a fire after their homes set alight in the middle of the night.
The officer had been out walking late on Friday when he came across a block of flats on fire in Croydon.
Without hesitating, he rushed in and alerted the residents – which included a mother with her baby – and got them all out to safety before parts of building were engulfed in the flames.
PC Neil Dobson had been out with his police dog Monty at around midnight when saw thick black smoke coming from a block of flats on London Road.
He tied up Monty outside and rushed into the building to help the residents, many of whom were asleep and unaware of the danger.
As he ran into the building he was met with a room full of thick smoke, making visibility and movement difficult.
He was unable to wake residents from the hallway so he was forced to smash through the doors of the apartments.
The Met statement said the officer suffered injuries in the process and inhaled a considerable amount of smoke but continued through the three-storey building until he had evacuated every single resident.
London Fire Brigade later arrived, sending four engines, but the entire communal area and a flat on the lower ground floor were completely destroyed by fire.
PC Dodson said: “There was a press article the next day reporting that the fire had completely destroyed the flats. It wasn’t till I read that, that I realised I’d actually probably saved some lives.”
“Without PC Dodson’s thought for the vulnerable, sleeping people inside and quick action he took, the incident could have easily spiralled into tragedy,” a police statement said.
Fortunately there were no serious injuries. LAS took one person to hospital for what was believed to be precautionary reasons.
A LFB statement said: “Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers were called to a fire at a block of flats in London Road, Croydon.
“The communal area and a flat on the lower ground floor were destroyed by fire. Seven people left the building before the arrival of the Brigade.
“The Brigade was called at 0.33am and the fire was under control at 1.31am. Fire crews from Norbury, Croydon, and Woodside fire stations attended the scene.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.