A Bay of Plenty police officer is being hailed a hero by police after he broke into a burning house in Mount Maunganui and risked his life to save an elderly woman.
The officer was on patrol on Sunday evening when he saw the house fully engulfed in flames.
He ran to a ranch slider and began banging on the door, when he noticed an elderly woman who was inside coming towards the door. As she tried to unlock the door she collapsed and fell backwards into the smoke-filled room.
Inspector Cliff Paxton said the officer then broke in through a window to find her and after being forced to go back outside to get air, he eventually pulled her to safety with the help of another officer.
"He realises the seriousness of the incident and I think at the end of the day he is very, very happy that he has been able to make a difference" he said.
Inspector Paxton said the woman was in a stable condition in Tauranga Hospital, while the officer was treated for cuts to his hands and smoke inhalation.