A Wisconsin police officer is being hailed a hero after rushing into a burning home to rescue an elderly man trapped inside.
Port Washington Police Officer Tony Becker was on routine patrol in the 300 block of N. Wisconsin Street around 5:40 p.m. when he heard popping and crackling noises from north of his location. Shortly after that, a fireball from the same area followed.
Becker investigated and found that a home in the area was on fire. He immediately rushed to the scene and found a residence with its south side engulfed in flames.
As he approached the home, the garage door opened, and a 74-year-old female resident ran out, telling him that her 79-year-old husband was still inside.
“Downstairs, he’s downstairs,” she told the officer.
Despite the danger, Becker entered the garage to retrieve the elderly man. The rescue was recorded on the officer’s body camera.
“Black smoke was undulating from the garage as Officer Becker entered and made his way to a doorway leading into the residence,” the Port Washington Police Department – Wisconsin wrote in a Facebook post detailing the incident. “The residence was filling with smoke, and the officer could feel intense heat coming from inside.”
Becker called out to the man and heard him respond from a stairwell inside the entryway. The officer then instructed him to follow his voice.
“John, come here, come to my voice!” Becker called out. “Come up the stairs, sir. Sir, crawl, crawl. Get to the floor, get to the floor. I see you. I will grab your hand. Got me?”
However, the man didn’t seem to know where Becker was. When another explosion sounded, he knew he had to get him out quick. Becker entered the home, reached out, and grabbed ahold of the frightened resident. He was able to pull him to the doorway and out of the garage into safety.
The man’s neighbors and loved ones were waiting on a driveway nearby, and a woman immediately offered him a chair. Officer Becker can be heard coughing loudly, trying to clear his lungs of smoke.
According to the police, Becker was brought to a local hospital for smoke inhalation, but he returned later that night to finish his shift.
Thankfully, the elderly couple is doing okay and are now living with their adult children as they determine how much damage the fire has caused.
The Port Washington Police Department also took this opportunity to remind people about the perils of house fires.
“House fires are dangerous scenes that can quickly become deadly,” the department wrote. “Emergency personnel are sometimes presented with only moments to make efforts to rescue residents from inside. We are thankful Officer Becker was in the area so quickly, and despite the dangers presented, was able to affect a rescue of the resident inside.”
“His efforts exemplified PWPD’s commitment to human life above anything else,” they added. “Thank you, Officer Becker; and thank you to all the fire and law enforcement agencies who responded to assist.”
After the incident, neighbor Barbara Patterson echoed the same praise.
“I hate to say this but if [Officer Becker] hadn’t done this he would have been dead… Without a doubt,” she told WTMJ. “The smoke was so thick that [it] alone would have been catastrophic.”
Police said that the cause of the fire was a lit barbecue grill that ignited propane tanks stored nearby. It set off multiple explosions and blew out all the windows on the back of the condo. It sent a plume of fire and smoke into the sky, slightly burning the trees in the backyard.
Officer Becker deserves to be recognized for his bravery. Even in the face of danger, he willingly risked his life to save others.
Check out the video below to see the dramatic rescue footage.
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