Bartholomew County deputies rescue man from fire

COLUMBUS, Ind.- Two Bartholomew County deputies are credited with rescuing a man from a smoke-filled home. Early Saturday morning, Deputy Bryant and Deputy Burkholder unexpectedly responded to a call near 9 a.mth and Union.

“We are not trained firefighters, but we are trained to know the danger. We know somebody is in danger going in,” said Lt. TA Smith of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office.

Body camera footage reveals the sound of a smoke alarm going off and thick black smoke billowing from the front door. A woman alerted them that she heard her neighbor’s smoke alarm. She was worried that there had been a fire and that someone might be inside.

“She was a good neighbor to hear it and know it happened. Luckily he had a smoke alarm and it went off,” Lt. Smith said.

When no one answered the front door, surveillance footage shows the deputy kicking him and entering the home. Within seconds, he saves a man who couldn’t get out on his own.

“He was very confused. The smoke was quite thick. He was breathing it,” Lt. Smith said.

Lt. Smith is the supervisor for both deputies in this rescue. Deputy Bryan has been on the force for less than two years. Deputy Burkholder is still in training.

“You don’t have to say should I come in? Shouldn’t I go inside? What to do? They just took over and were leaders and that’s what we want,” Lt. Smith said.

A Columbus police officer used a fire extinguisher and extinguished the fire in the kitchen before it spread. Columbus Firefighters then showed up and took them over.

“It could have been fatal for them if someone hadn’t warned them and our deputies hadn’t gone in there to get him out,” Lt. Smith said.

The victim was taken to the hospital for evaluation, but is doing well. Lt. Smith was not these two deputies to recognize what they did that day made a difference.

“Nothing makes anyone prouder. Nothing makes the department prouder. Nothing makes the citizens of Bartholomew County prouder,” said Lt. Smith.

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