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Awards for Wyndham Vale couple
Wyndham Vale brigade members Lawrence Carver and Shona Carver have received bravery awards for rescuing four children on 17 July 2009.
Senior Constable Lawrence Carver received the Bronze Medal and his wife Shona received the Certificate of Merit from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia at Government House on Friday 14 December 2012.
At 12.30pm on 17 July 2009, Lawrence was off-duty at home when his pager alerted him to a fire at the house next door. At about the same time, the oldest child of the family approached Shona saying that her mother was going to set their house on fire.
Lawrence could hear a woman screaming and could hear children crying. He tried to enter the house but all the doors were locked. He then tried to enter the house via a front window which was open and tried to stop the mother from closing it. She attempted to hit him but he was able to dislodge the window from its rails.
"I initially responded to a report of a fire, but I had to switch hats and take on the role of a police officer because I was faced with an attempted murder scene," Lawrence said.
The mother returned to the kitchen and Lawrence could see four children in the lounge room sitting on the floor. They were unable to come to the window when he called them because a sarong had been tied to a coffee table and around the children’s legs.
"When I saw the children were tied up, I realised how serious the situation was," said Lawrence.
The mother came back into the room yelling and screaming and grabbed one of the children in a bear hug and began squeezing the child tightly. The child began screaming and Lawrence was concerned that the child might be harmed so he jumped through the window and wrestled the mother to the ground.
Shona saw the children, entered through the window, untied them and took them to her house until the police arrived.
"As a mother, my instinct took over and I didn't think of anything else apart from getting the children out," Shona said.
"I was really proud of Shona. She hadn't been exposed to this type of situation before and she handled the situation and acted really well," said Lawrence.
Francis Ludeman, Captain of Wyndham Vale brigade and Shona's father, was the officer in charge of the incident. He helped Lawrence to restrain the woman.
"I was proud of everyone involved because of the way they reacted and the immediate response to the situation, including the crew from Hoppers Crossing," said Francis.
It was later discovered that the woman had stacked combustible material inside the home and had attempted to ignite it.