AURORA, Colo. — Two Aurora Police Department officers and a police recruit are being credited with saving a couple from a burning home Wednesday night.
At around 8:30 p.m., Officer Ryan Sweeney was heading back to the station for his lunch break when a call came into their system.
“I looked at our pending calls and I saw a structure fire,” he says. “And I looked at the address and realized I just drove by the neighborhood.”
Sweeney turned around and arrived on scene about a minute later.
“As I was walking up, I could hear chaos inside, people yelling,” he says. “When I was at the door, there was quite a bit of smoke, and I realized if I was getting a lot of smoke at the door, the people near the fire were getting a lot more.”
Sweeney went inside and found his way through the home using a flashlight.
“The smoke was pretty thick. Smoke layer was probably 3 or 4 feet off the ground, so I got into the house and had to crouch down to see anything.”
In a back bedroom, he found an elderly man on the ground.
“I saw the male on the floor. I tried to see if he could walk and he confirmed he couldn’t walk, so I grabbed him and pulled him out of the fire,” Sweeney said.
As he was carrying that man out, Officer Alex Diz and the recruit arrived on scene.
“I turned to him and said, ‘Is there anyone else in the house?’ And he indicated there was someone else in there. So I ran in and there was an elderly lady inside the house who I escorted out,” Diz said.
Firefighters were on the scene moments later, treating both residents as well as all three officers for smoke inhalation. The fire was contained to a back bedroom and bathroom.
“I think it’s only after the fact that you take a step back and say, ‘Was I making wise decisions?'” says Diz. “I don’t know, you act on instinct, I guess.”
Both officers say they are dealing with headaches and burning lungs today, but that they’d do it again in a heartbeat.
“I know it’s cliche, but anyone would have done it,” says Diz.
“It’s hard to be on a scene like that and not do anything. That’s kind of what your job entails, is to do things when people need help,” says Sweeney.