CLEVELAND(WJW) — Video released to the FOX 8 I-Team shows a local state trooper and Cleveland police officers rush into a burning home to save a man in a wheelchair.
And, that trooper opened up to the I-Team about risking his life to save a stranger.
Saturday night, a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol rolled up to two homes off West 47th Place in Cleveland, burning with intense flames shooting out, and he quickly found out from a neighbor a man in a wheelchair was still inside.
Seconds later, highway patrol dash camera video shows trooper Hiram Morales run to the side door asking, “Anyone in the house? Anyone in the house?”
He spoke to a woman and went inside.
Seconds later, two police officers showed up at the scene, and officers Corey Rose and Molly Madaras also rushed to the door.
Trooper Morales said, “You don’t think much at that time.”
He added, “As I was walking in the door, I could hear a female screaming. She was trying to push the wheelchair but she wasn’t strong enough to do so.”
Every second critical. Incredible flames. Thick smoke. And, no time to wait for firefighters. But that trooper and those officers quickly pulled off the rescue.
The video also captured the rescuers talking to each other as they brought the man in the wheelchair down a few steps to safety. You can hear “Got em?” ”Got em?” “I got em…”
Trooper Morales described the moment he pushed that wheelchair away from the burning home.
He said, “Like a burden is lifted. Helping people is the reason I joined this agency.”
Days later, you can see how the fire spread from one home to the next. The rescue took place on a tiny dead-end street. How did a trooper end up there? He’d been stopped along the highway when someone came up to him and told him about a big fire burning nearby.
Trooper Morales said, “I could see the fire from the interstate.”
He also said he believes other troopers would have done the same thing — racing to save someone despite the flames.
And, looking back, he believes he had some special protection.
He said, “Thank God for protection. Step back, and give thanks. Prayers worked.”
Investigators believe the fire was caused accidentally perhaps due to something with the heating system.
Two other senior citizens had to go to the hospital with burns. They’d been in one of the burning homes, and they got out before the officers got there.
The video shows them running toward danger. No question, they’ll be ready do it again.