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Glendale police officers save elderly man trapped in burning assisted living home

Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 19:50:11-05

GLENDALE — Two Glendale police officers were presented with an Award for Valor Thursday after charging into a blazing assisted living facility and saving an elderly resident calling out for help.

The police department writes that on Jan. 5 just before 5 p.m., Officer Wilson and Officer Byrnes were called to a fire at a three-story Laurel Oaks assisted living facility. Running up to the second floor, the officers encountered heavy smoke and visibility of fewer than two feet.

Glendale police officers save elderly man trapped in burning assisted living home

The first responders soon discovered where the flames were coming from, and could hear the 68-year-old man calling for help. The flames and smoke had blocked his path in order to leave the building.

The officers first used a fire extinguisher to combat the flames. They then created a "human chain" to enter the room where the elderly man was, the police department says, with Officer Byrnes holding the door frame and Officer Wilson’s belt.

Only then was Officer Wilson able to find the resident inside of the first corner, and pull him out of the smoke-filled building.

Meanwhile, Officers Poetzl, Rosquist and Ruppel called out to the other residents of the apartment to alert them of the tense situation. They also helped evacuate residents still inside.

"The actions of the officers saved lives and mitigated the damage caused by the fire which was ultimately put out by the NSFD," the police department writes.

"The actions of the officers involved reflect highly upon them and exemplify to a high degree the traditions of the law enforcement profession. Great job to all the Officers involved"

For those actions, Officer Wilson and Officer Byrnes were presented with an Award of Valor, while Officer Poetzl, Officer Rosquist and Officer Ruppel were presented with a Life Saving Award, the department says.

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