Police officer called 'hero' for rescuing woman from burning house

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 1:23 p.m. MDT

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo doesn't like to overuse the word "hero."

But in the case of one of his officers, Sgt. Dan Bartlett, he said it's appropriate.

"In this case, he was" a hero, Russo said. "I think (his actions) are extraordinary."

Monday night, Bartlett was the first person to arrive at a house fire at 7760 S. Towne Circle (2640 East). Douglas Young, 86, had made it outside and was standing on his front porch, but Bartlett noted that he seemed disoriented and confused, Russo said. When asked whether anyone else was inside, Young told Bartlett that his wife was still in the house.

Bartlett went in, found Beverly Young, 86, and told her he would lead her out. Young initially said she needed to find her shoes first, Russo said. But Bartlett told her she didn't have time and needed to go right then.

Bartlett escorted the woman to the door just as fire crews arrived. The sergeant was later treated for minor smoke inhalation at a local hospital and released.

Tuesday, Russo praised Bartlett, noting that from the time an emergency dispatcher picked up the 911 call reporting the fire to the time Bartlett got inside the house, just two minutes had elapsed.

"We're very proud," Russo said.

A Unified Fire Authority firefighter was also injured in the incident Monday night. The firefighter suffered first-degree burns on his neck and shoulders after what was believed to be hot water came down from the ceiling on him.

Damage to the home was between $25,000 and $50,000. The two-alarm fire started about 9:45 p.m.

The cause of the fire was believed to be an electrical problem — an overheated light fixture that caused insulation to smolder in the attic, said Unified Fire Capt. Cliff Burningham. The first arriving crews could see smoke and flames coming from the attic, he said.

The fire was knocked down quickly. The majority of interior damage was due to smoke, water and fire crews pulling down sheet rock from the ceiling.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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