'Heroic' Roy police officer rescues man from burning house

Published: Sunday, Jan. 12 2014 9:34 p.m. MST

A Roy man suffered second- and third-degree burns in a house fire Saturday night.

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ROY — A Roy police officer was heralded as "heroic" for pulling a Roy man from a burning house Saturday night.

"It was a great, heroic effort on his part and Roy City Police Department as a whole. We were really fortunate he did not go down as well," Roy Fire Chief Jason Poulsen said of the efforts of officer Kyle Christensen.

Christensen entered the burning house at 3965 S. 225 West, located the man in the basement and pulled him from the structure with the help of another officer.

"That police officer took in a lot of smoke going down into that basement. You're basically going down into an oven with heavy smoke. That's a big risk," Poulsen said.

Christensen was among the first emergency personnel to arrive at the house. He said he could hear ammunition going off as a result of the fire. Yet, after the man's mother told officers that her son was still inside, he didn't hesitate to help.

"I don't think anyone else out there would have done anything different. I just happened to be closer," Christensen said.

The man's mother, who got herself out of the house but was unable to rouse her son who was in the basement, was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, Poulsen said.

The adult male who lived in the home with his mother was flown to the burn unit at University Hospital for treatment of second- and third-degree burns. His name was not released.

Christensen was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital.

Once firefighters were certain all occupants of the home were out, crews entered the house a few minutes later but quickly retreated after encountering thick, billowing black smoke.

"As soon as we backed out, the whole first level flashed, meaning it exploded," Poulsen said. Flames shot 40 feet in the air and "the entire structure was engulfed." Although the fire was out, conditions remained so unsafe Sunday that fire officials were not going to be able to investigate the cause of the blaze anytime soon, he said.

Firefighters hosed down nearby homes as a precaution because the fire was so large and intense, Poulsen said. Multiple fire agencies responded to the blaze.

"This was a fire that had every possibility of a fatal fire. We feel very lucky and fortunate that the homeowner got out, the police officer didn’t go down and we didn’t hurt any firemen trying to contain this blaze," he said.

Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba, Sandra Yi

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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