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Local Police Officers Recount Daring Rescue From Burning Home

By: Matt Howerton, James Warde Email
By: Matt Howerton, James Warde Email
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WACO (May 7, 2013)--Four Waco police officers were credited Tuesday morning with saving a family from their burning home overnight.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said just after midnight Tuesday morning officers Garen Bynum, Jennifer Duncan, Craig Mrosko and Kevin Spicer entered a home on N. 5th Street and rescued two children and their parents from a home that had caught fire.

Firefighters were sent just after midnight to a house in the 1600 block of N. 5th Street. There a house was fully engulfed in flames.

Officer Bynum had been patrolling the area and called in the blaze to dispatch.

“It was already fully engulfed, I mean flames were coming up over the rooftops of the houses,” Bynum said.

“I was several blocks off and I could easily see it."

Officers Duncan, Mrosko, and Spicer were also patrolling in the area, heard Bynum’s call, and came to assist.
The burning house was vacant but it was burning so hot that the house next door caught fire.

Firefighters hadn’t arrived on scene yet, so the police officers made the decision to enter the home, fearing someone might be inside.

After multiple attempts to alert the residents inside the home, the officers entered by force.

"When we got the door open I could see a woman and the house was filling with smoke," Mrosko said.

“I had to hold my breath when I went in there. I tried to breathe at one point and was like ‘this isn’t going to work,’” Spicer said.

Once inside, the officers found a 7- and 9-year-old child hiding under a blanket and later found their parents inside.

As firefighters were arriving on scene, the officers ushered the two children and the adults outside.

“The quick actions of Officer's Bynum, Mrosko, Duncan and Spicer, most likely prevented what could have been a terrible tragedy,” Swanton said.

"I actually remember standing there outside the home thinking that if Officer Bynum hadn't seen the house when he did, it might have been a different outcome for the family," Mrosko said.

"I don't feel like we went above and beyond, I feel like we just did our job by keeping people safe," Duncan said.

All four members of the family were evacuated from the home without injury.

The vacant house was destroyed in the fire and the house next door received significant damage, fire officials said Tuesday.

Waco police Victim’s Services and the HOT Chapter of the American Red Cross also responded to assist the victims.

The cause of the fire had not been determined Tuesday morning.

Waco Police says all four officers will be nominated for the Life Saving Award, and that this is the first time they’ve entered a burning house during an emergency.


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