Bodycam captures moment cop rushes into burning Wis. home to rescue man

ByTom Durian, WTMJ
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
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A police officer in Wisconsin is being hailed as a hero for rushing into a burning home to save the life of an elderly man.

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. -- A police officer in Wisconsin is being hailed as a hero for rushing into a burning home to save a man's life.

The daring rescue was recorded on the officer's body camera.

Neighbors said the officer, who was just down the street at the nearby police station when he heard the explosion, saved lives by acting so fast.

When Port Washington Police Officer Tony Becker arrived at the home on Sunday evening, it was in flames and a woman told him her husband was still inside.

Officer Becker went into the garage filled with dark smoke and headed to help the man out.

"John, come here come to my voice! Come up the stairs sir. Sir, crawl, crawl," Officer Becker can be heard saying on his body camera. "Get to the floor, get to the floor. I see you. I will grab your hand. Got me?"

Moments later, the man starts to emerge, and the officer reaches in and pulls him to safety.

The man is now safe with his wife and neighbors, and the officer is left trying to clear his lungs of all the smoke as firefighters arrive.

"All of a sudden, I heard an explosion," said neighbor Barbara Patterson. "My Michael ran in the house. He said, 'Barbara, Barbara! Get up -- come on out.'"

The condos are close together and Patterson was taking a nap right on the other side of the wall of the condo that was on fire.

Once she got outside, she watched as firefighters went to work.

"I saw black smoke just billowing out of the garage," she said.

Patterson said the explosion happened after a lit barbecue grill ignited propane tanks stored nearby. That set off multiple explosions that blew out all the windows on the back of the condo, and sent a plume of fire and smoke into the sky that singed the backyard trees.

"Oh, without a doubt. Without a doubt," Patterson said when asked if she thought the officer saved lives. "I hate to say this, but if he hadn't done that, he would have been dead. The smoke was so thick, that alone would have been catastrophic."

Officer Becker was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation but he returned to his shift later that night.

The local news station, WTMJ, spoke with the family of the couple that was rescued. They said they are doing just fine.

The Red Cross is also providing them with shelter while they figure this all out.