Hero Grant Healey to receive Victoria Police Valour Award | The Ararat Advertiser

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A POLICE officer commando crawled into a burning home as a molten aluminum ceiling fan crashed to the floor. He burst through a bedroom door, grabbed an unconscious man and dragged him out before the inferno consumed the house. Victoria Police plans to award Leading Senior Constable Grant Healey its highest individual medal for bravery later this month. The force only gives its valour award to officers who display “exceptional bravery in extremely perilous circumstances”. The police officer’s beat is now the small Victorian town of Elmhurst but he was born in Bendigo and once ran a barbers shop in Kangaroo Flat. His 20-year police career has taken him to Castlemaine, Maryborough and Dunolly. An off-duty Leading Senior Constable Healey was one of the first people on scene at the fire tearing through the Elmhurst home on December 28, 2019. No-one could see the home’s resident, who had recently had a stroke and was using a walking frame to get around. “I just knew he couldn’t get himself out. That didn’t leave me too many choices,” Leading Senior Constable Healey said. Unable to kick the solid front door in, she ran around the back. The flames were so hot that they drove him back on his first attempt to get through the backdoor. “I burnt my nose and my throat,” Leading Senior Constable Healey said. OTHER NEWS: But he could also see the resident’s walking frame resting outside his bedroom door and knew the man must have been inside. Leading Senior Constable Healey crawled inside, still wearing his thongs, singlet and shorts. He used his handkerchief to protect himself from the smoke and commando crawled to a bedroom door bulging in the intense heat. When he kicked down the door he could see the resident was lying on a bed, his feet dangling over the side. The man was unconscious. Leading Senior Constable Healey dragged him off the bed and began sliding backwards to escape the fire. As they got to the house’s backdoor several other town locals were able to haul both men outside. “They started CPR on him. I had my own issues by that stage,” Leading Senior Constable Healey said. Paramedics evacuated the police officer to an intensive care unit, where he spent the night. Leading Senior Constable Healey suffered from internal burns and doctors were concerned about his lungs. Thankfully, they did not have to put him in an induced coma. “I didn’t singe a hair on my body. I don’t know how,” Leading Senior Constable Healey said. Sadly, the man he pulled from the house died at the scene. “His family was extremely thankful that we got his body out,” he said. An investigation into the cause of the fire established that it was not suspicious. The blaze left everyone in the tight-knit Elmhurst community reeling. Leading Senior Constable Healey himself knew the man who had died. So had other residents who arrived at the scene and helped out. “They’ve all been nominated for Victoria Police citizen commendations,” Leading Senior Constable Healey said. Those awards are currently scheduled for early April. Leading Senior Constable Healey is expected to receive his award in Glen Waverley at the end of March, in front of his family and a class of graduating police officers. He will be just the 352nd recipient of the award in Victoria Police’s 169 year history. The first officer to receive the award was Sergeant William Rogerson of Armadale’s police station, who arrested two burglars in 1899, according to the Victoria Police Historical Society. During the arrest, the burglars launched a long “extremely violent” fight with the unarmed police officer, who single handedly kept the pair from escaping. While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.

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