By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, October 29, 2004

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON – Three Hampton police officers, who went above and beyond the call of service in February, were honored at this year’s seventh annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony.

Lt. Daniel Gidley and officers Joseph Jones and Stephen Champey all received Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Awards during the ceremony two weeks ago.

Hampton Police Chief Bill Wrenn said they received the award for their heroic actions after a fire broke out at the Sunset View Condominiums.

“It’s quite an honor for them,” said Wrenn. “I’m very proud of the work the officers did at that fire in a life-threatening situation. They deserve the recognition.”

The award was given to the three officers for running into the burning condominiums to ensure everyone’s safety.

The officers, on routine patrol, were the ones who spotted the fire and immediately began knocking on doors, alerting people to evacuate.

“There were people in there who weren’t even aware of the fire,” Gidley told the Hampton Union back in February. “We got six people out of four units. Guys were kicking at doors all through the building, we were moving pretty fast. There was so much smoke we couldn’t see each other … It was a very intense scene for a while there.”

Firefighters from 12 communities, including Hampton, battled the blaze. In the end, the building was destroyed and 16 people had to find new homes.

Five people, including one bystander and two police officers, were taken to Exeter Hospital and treated and released for smoke inhalation. A third police officer suffered an abrasion and was treated at the scene.

Selectmen Chairman William “Skip” Sullivan said he was proud of the three officers.

“It was just one more instance of town employees working for the best interest of the town,” said Sullivan.

The awards were presented by U.S. Sen. John Sununu and U.S. Reps. Jeb Bradley and Charles Bass at the Police Standards and facility in Concord.