Officer helps man trapped in burning house
Published 2:37 pm Monday, January 11, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – An Alabaster police officer has received praise from the city’s police and fire chiefs after the officer saved a victim from a smoke-filled burning house on Jan. 5.
Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney issued a letter of commendation for officer Kevin Summerall on Jan. 8 after the officer helped to prevent injuries in a potentially life-threatening situation.
On Jan. 5, a neighbor noticed smoke billowing out of a house in the city’s Cambridge Pointe neighborhood and called 911 to report the fire. When the caller saw a man hanging out of the home’s second-floor window trying to escape the thick black smoke, the 911 dispatcher instructed her to bring a ladder to the house in an attempt to help the man climb down.
When 911 dispatchers alerted Alabaster first responders about the situation, Summerall was the first to arrive on the scene.
“We want to acknowledge the good work of the 911 dispatchers,” Alabaster Fire Chief Jim Golden said during a Jan. 11 interview. “Because of their instructions, (the caller) was already on her way to the house with the ladder when officer Summerall arrived on the scene.”
Firefighters determined a fire had started in the downstairs kitchen, and was emitting a large amount of smoke. Because of the heavy smoke, the man became trapped on the second floor.
After arriving on the scene, Summerall, who has been an APD officer since 2012, rushed to extend the ladder to the second-story window, and assisted the victim in climbing to safety.
Golden said firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it spread to other areas of the house, and said paramedics treated the victim on the scene for smoke inhalation.
“Officer Summerall reacted quickly in order to rescue this citizen from an extreme situation sure to have resulted in injury at the least,” read Rigney’s letter of commendation.
Rigney said he issues such letters for officers who exhibit qualities “above and beyond” the regular scope of their duties.
“He felt that if he didn’t do something immediately, the victim may not make it,” Rigney said during a Jan. 11 interview. “I’m just excited and grateful he was there.”