BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Two Middletown police officers are being hailed as heroes for going into a burning building and saving the life of a woman who was trapped inside.
The fire began early Saturday morning in a home at 24 Grimes Street.
The first caller to Middletown emergency dispatch told the 911 call taker the house was fully engulfed — that was at 6:23 a.m.
Later, a second caller said there was a woman inside the burning home: “She’s in the kitchen,” the caller said.
Officers Steve Crank and Adam Grindstaff arrived at scene before the fire department. They had to jump a fence and find a door that was not overcome by flames.
By this time, according to Middletown police, the house had filled with a turbid cloud of smoke.
“The officers kicked the side door in,” Middletown Police Chief David Birk explained. “They made entry. They had to low-crawl into the residence.”
The chief says Crank and Grindstaff, both on their hands and knees, used their flashlights to search for the female victim in her sixties.
Crank spotted her first, pulled her towards him and was able to lift the woman’s body out of the house, Birk says.
But outside, the officers found themselves pinned down in the backyard without a clear path to the street through the flames.
They had to tear down a chain link fence behind the home, Birk says, where they then carried the victim to an ambulance waiting down an alley.
“This is something you don’t see everyday,” Birk said. “We do have house fires, but for the officers to get there and go above and beyond that call, and go in there, crawl, roll, find the female inside and drag her out to safety... It’s just remarkable.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The woman’s name is not being released. She remains in serious condition at Miami Valley Hospital, according to police.
Officer Crank is a U.S. Army purple heart recipient and has been on the force for three years.
Officer Grindstaff joined the department in January.
Birk says he is drafting letters of commendation for them both.