A police officer in Rogersville, Alabama, was finishing an overnight shift when he heard a call come in over the radio about an apartment fire possibly involving a child.
Firefighters were seven minutes away when they first received the call at 4:45 a.m. on March 6, but officer Tyler Dison of the Rogersville Police Department knew he could make it there in almost half that time.
“I wanted to get there first,” he said. “I wanted to do more than just wait for the call.”
The cop rushed to the scene and got there three minutes before the firefighters. One of the apartment’s windows had flames coming out of it, while the rest were billowing out heavy smoke.
When he got out of his car, a frantic woman was screaming that her baby was inside.
Dison knew there was no time to think, so he immediately ran toward the blaze and forced himself inside.
“I gotta save this child at all costs,” the 24-year-old police officer said.
Within minutes of entering the building, the officer came back out, holding a three-year-old boy in his arms. Dison then placed the child in his police car and traveled to meet the incoming ambulance.
When the firefighters arrived, they helped another resident escape the apartment. The team got the fire under control in 10 minutes.
According to police, the fire wasn’t an accident. It was deliberately started by the boy’s 44-year-old father, who was charged with seven counts of first-degree arson. The man confessed to authorities that he had set the fire and left his son inside.
If nobody had come in to rescue the toddler from the burning building, he wouldn’t have survived the fire.
“His breathing was very shallow, he was very lethargic. He was groaning, he wasn’t really responding,” Dison said.
The child was transported to the North Alabama Medical Center before being flown to the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital for treatment.
The boy sustained burns during the ordeal, but he is expected to fully recover and was eventually sent home.
Dison also suffered minor injuries during the rescue. He sustained burns in his arms, and his uniform melted off his body. However, his safety was the least of his worries at the time.
“I’m just blessed that, that baby is doing OK,” he said.
Dison said it’s the first time he has responded to such a call in his two years on the force. Luckily, he had been trained and prepared for these types of situations.
Dison started his career as a firefighter and later entered the police force. He said the move was inspired by his big brother, also a Rogersville Police Officer.
“He always inspired me to do things and I just wanted to be just like him,” he said.
The Rogersville Police Department is extremely proud of Dison for a job well done. Rogersville Police Chief Brian Hudson said that he will be honored for his heroic efforts.
“He did what were out here to do, protect lives, saves lives,” said Hudson.
“I grew up in this town, I want to protect it always,” Dison said.
The toddler’s mother, Kelsey Tucker, took to Facebook to thank Dison for his life-saving actions.
“I don’t even know where to start to thank Officer Dison for being my baby boy’s hero,” she wrote. “I am beyond thankful for what you did this morning to save him.”
Kudos to this police officer for risking his life to save this child. He’s a real hero!
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