A Milford Haven police officer has been praised by his family after kicking down a front door in Hakin to save a 61-year-old woman from a grill pan fire.

PC Dave Norman was on duty on Tuesday afternoon when he received an emergency call from a distressed female in a house in Picton Road, which was rapidly filling up with smoke.

PC Norman, aged 48, who has worked in Milford Haven for two years, said: "When we got to her house, there was a really strong smell of smoke but we couldn't get any response from the front door.

"We looked through the window and we could see a female sitting on the couch in the smoke-filled room, and we realised that we had to get in as soon as we could.

"There were no method of entry trained officers with us and the fire brigade hadn't arrived yet, so I tried to barge the front door open a few times but it wouldn't open. So I kicked the door, and on the fourth or fifth time it came open and we managed to get her up and out of the house. She seemed a bit overcome, and in shock."

PC Norman, who has worked for Dyfed-Powys Police for seven years, added: "This sort of thing doesn't happen very often, but when it does it's just a spur of the moment decision. I knew that I had to break in because I was concerned for the safety for someone inside. It was quite exciting, and I am glad that we got to save a life."

The casualty was later taken to Withybush A&E and treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns.

PC Norman's wife Heidi, who called the Mercury to praise her husband, said: "He is one of many policemen in Pembrokeshire doing this kind of thing all the time. They need a pat on the back and encouragement now and again to remind people of what they do.

"He’s saved lives before and nothing’s ever said about it, but as far as I’m concerned he deserves a medal. On Father’s Day, we always get him a chocolate gold medal.”

She added: “There’s always a niggling worry there that he could be injured, and he has been in the past, but I am proud of him and I know that he’s doing a really good job despite all the bad press the police get in the national news. He’s doing a fantastic job and we would be lost without him.

“He often comes home as if it's all in a day’s work, but I think he’s done something amazing, and it’s important that people know about all the good things they do that no one gets to hear about. He might not see it as a big thing, but he did save a life."

A West Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said that two Milford Haven crews attended the fire which was confined to the grill pan on the oven hob. The crews extinguished the fire using one hose reel jet, two breathing apparatus, a thermal imaging camera and a positive pressure fan.