Not just firefighters rush into burning buildings
Wed, 10/12/2022 - 1:40pm admin
—So do law enforcement
Marcie Klomp ~ News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
CRESCO - Doing what they do best, local law enforcement officers got a call and responded. Thanks to Cresco Police Officer Ben Hillyer and Howard County Sheriff Tim Beckman, a 16-year old juvenile is recovering from severe smoke inhalation.
On Monday, Oct. 10, the juvenile called 911 at 1:37 p.m. about being trapped and unable to get out of the house on the 13000 block of Valley Ave., south of Cresco, due to a fire.
Officer Hillyer arrived first with Sheriff Beckman arriving right behind him at 1:46. Neither were sure it was the correct address as there was no visible smoke.
Hillyer said, “At the house, I didn’t see or smell smoke, but when I went between the house and garage, I smelled it.” In the meantime, Beckman grabbed a fabric face mask and his fire extinguisher from his car.
Both officers entered the house side-by-side. Neither smelled smoke in the downstairs. Upstairs, all the doors were open except one, and it was locked. According to Beckman’s body camera, he kicked in the door at 1:50.
He said, “I saw flames. Once the door opened, it got oxygen. I used the fire extinguisher and was overcome by smoke and particles from the fire extinguisher. Smoke from burning carpet is toxic.” Beckman backed out and put his mask on. Hillyer put a t-shirt over his face.
The sheriff recalled, “We went in and couldn’t see. I heard [the juvenile] coughing, who was in the closet.”
The two officers drug the juvenile into the hall and down the steps. They received help from an EMT who had just arrived. The victim answered there was nobody else in the house and was transferred to Regional Health Services of Howard County. The patient was later air lifted to the burn unit in Minneapolis.
Both Hillyer and Beckman drove themselves to the hospital to get checked out. Both were fine.
The sheriff noted, “I’ve been in burning houses before, but this was the first time without fire gear. I never had to rescue anyone during a fire.”
He wanted to stress, with it being Fire Prevention Week, “Smoke detectors are really important.” They were going off on the body camera footage. Hillyer stated he never heard them during the rescue, but he did when looking at the footage afterwards.
Besides Cresco Police, the Sheriff’s Office and RHS ambulance, Cresco and Protivin Fire Departments were also on scene.