Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good/Not so Good Friday experience!

Please be advised this story contains mature content, please use caution before letting your little ones read.

Many of you have already heard of my experience on Friday, seen it on the news, or read the newspaper articles. For those of you who have not here is what happened.

6:05am Myself and my beat partner are at a local restaurant doing a walk through for a manager after an alarm went off. While finishing up my partner gets called to check in with EMS in reference to an unknown call (this is a common call for us, as when it is not known exactly what is going on at the call EMS requests our assistance).

I immediately leave the restaurant to head that way and check in. My call notes on the screen said that a woman was screaming, and moaning. I responded as I normally would (with a sense of urgency but no lights or siren). About 1 minute into my drive dispatch stated that it was a possible structure fire, now it is time to go with more urgency (still not lights and siren, as it was now the fire departments call). At that time in the morning there was almost no traffic at all and I had green lights the whole way. It only took me about 1 1/2 minutes to get there.

I pulled onto the street of the apartments and immediately saw the area had significant smoke in the air, as i rounded the corner to the apartment i could see the fire and smoke coming from the upstairs of the apartment, I saw a lady saying "she's in there, she's upstairs. I notified dispatch as i was pulling up and told them of the visible structure fire, subject inside, I informed them that i was the only person on scene, and that i was making entry into the apartment.

At this point some of you may be wondering how the decision to enter the burning building even came into play, after all, I'm not a firefighter, nor trained as such. The only answer I can give is, I just did it, someone needed my help and i was the only person there who could help.

I immediately exited my vehicle, and ran into the apartment. It was extremely smokey, and the smoke and heat knocked me back. I heard another car arrive and went to the door to get some air, and tell Officer Doak (the other unit) that she is upstairs. He followed me in and we went to the stairs, it was at that point that the reality set in, it was like a scene out of a movie, at the ceiling level of the downstairs section carrying all the way to the floor of the top of the stairs was a ceiling of dark, thick, rolling smoke. After taking another breath this time out the back door, we crawled to the top of the stairs. Both yelling to anyone upstairs to knock, bang, make any kind of noise. It was intensely hot, smokey and the flames were visible. There was about an inch gap between the floor of the upstairs and the ceiling of smoke. We could not see anyone, but heard what we though was breathing (either a person, or the fire we could not tell).

We tried for what seemed like an eternity to make contact with anyone, with no avail. We did not have any equipment or masks to help us to breath, we could not go into the smoke and flames, if we did we too would be come victims, at this time we were both overcome with smoke and ran to get air. The fire department then showed up and went in with their equipment. I helped them any way I could, Doak and I were pulling there hoses, and moving anything we could while our partners were getting people out of neighboring apartments.

Unfortunately the resident inside of the apartment was in fact inside the upstairs room, she was discovered deceased by the fire department after they extinguished the flames. I later went into the upstairs and saw that she was 6 feet from where we were at the top of the stairs. I know that we did all that we could (some may say more than we should), but I am satisfied knowing that!

I smelt like smoke for the rest of the day, today sitting in my car i still smell the smoke, I will always remember how fragile life is, and how powerful fire truly can be. I will never get the image of going up those stairs out of my mind, it is forever stamped in my head.

I have attached a couple of the news articles to read if you choose to. May our Heavenly Father bless us all this Easter weekend, to be safe, remember the Savior, and enjoy being with our families.

(the crown vic police car in the video is mine)
(I am fixing my vest in this video when you see me)


Texas Lisa April 11, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

Guy, I hope you are very proud of yourself. You tried your best and it says a lot about you that you went in at all without any thought to yourself. I hope if my family is ever in trouble, an officer like you will be around.

Whitehouse II April 12, 2009 at 11:20 AM  

Thanks for sharing Guy. This is part of the reason I love sharing, with others, that you are a police officer. I know you give it your all and risk much when you are on duty. Adrenaline is a crazy thing. You acted but you acted sensibly.
Happy Easter to you brother, Shannon, Blake and Madison.

Lisa and company April 12, 2009 at 2:57 PM  

Wow- You have had a crazy couple of days. Garner is lucky to have an officer like you on duty.

Ski Trip April 12, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

We had a house fire when I was around 19 years old. My mom was trapped inside and I am the one who came home to try to save her. The smoke was sooo bad I couldn't get in the house no matter what I did. Luckily the fire department came just in time and got her out and she survived. But my point is Guy unless you have been there you just don't know how bad the smoke can get. Don't be so hard on yourself. You did an amazing job and tried to get to her. Good Job Guy. You should be extremely proud of yourself. Mona

Lin April 12, 2009 at 10:03 PM  

Guy, you acted calmly and bravely as anyone who knows you would expect. Sorry the outcome wasn't more happy, but I am extremely glad that you are safe. We love you all...have a happy Easter!!!

Anonymous April 13, 2009 at 11:05 PM  

Guy, great job. I know this must have been a painful thing to be a part of.


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