A Portland paramedic who saved the lives of six people including a man who had set himself on fire has been named Paramedic of the Year.

Renton O’Malley, 55, of Portland, was awarded the prestigious accolade because he ‘compromised his own safety’ and for not ‘only saving the patient’s life but potentially the lives of those living close by’.

He was presented the national award in the House of Commons after his 27 years in the ambulance service.

He said: “I am pleased to win it but you know it’s difficult because I just happened to be there but it could have been any one of my colleagues.

“I was just doing my job.

“Still it’s nice to get the recognition for everyone working in the ambulance service.”

Mr O’Malley said he arrived at a residential block in Portland in August to find a suicidal patient threatening to set himself on fire after dousing himself in accelerant.

He said: “We were talking for a while and then I went and evacuated two other households – which in total was five people including two babies.

“When I went back into the room the man lit a lighter and set himself on fire so I put it out using a bucket of water.”

The national award was presented to Mr O’Malley at the Ambulance Service Institute Awards at a special ceremony with his colleague Hannah Dobinson, from Devon. The trust’s chief executive Ken Wenman said: “Congratulations to Renton, Hannah and each of the five gentlemen from Cornwall for their brave actions.

“I am delighted that they have been recognised nationally for their dedication and commitment.

“Each individual has obviously worked above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest levels of patient care in each of these cases.

“Well done to everyone involved.”

Mr O’Malley lives in Portland with his wife Jayne and has two grown up children and one grandchild.