Deputies Rescue Boy From Burning Home

Two Florida deputies say they were only doing their job
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2022 4:25 PM CDT

Sheriff’s deputies in Hillsborough County, Florida, rescued a 9-year-old boy from a burning home in the nick of time last Thursday night. Per the Washington Post, deputies Alexander Maldonado and Kevin Reich could see and feel the flames a block away. As they approached the one-story house, neighbors said, "There’s a kid inside," and the boy’s mother was on the porch shouting his name. Bodycam footage shows Maldonado breaking a window and shining his flashlight inside; tension mounts as Reich attempts to break down a side door without success and Maldonado breaks another window.

With smoke billowing from inside, Maldonado finally located the child and shouted, "Come here! Reach out to us. Keep coming," as he guided him toward safety. When they finally pulled him through the window, the boy was covered in ashes and suffering from smoke inhalation and burns. Deputies took him to the yard and rendered aid before paramedics arrived. In a press conference Friday, Maldonado said he and his partner were "just doing what [we’re] trained to do and trying to find the safest way to get the child out of the house," per Bay News 9. Sheriff Chad Chronister called them heroes and said, "I could not be more proud of the quick actions and bravery these deputies displayed.”

Per ABC Action News, the boy's mother, Karen McGinnis, said her son's injuries are not as serious as initially feared. He has second-degree burns on his face and arms and was placed on a ventilator and "heavily sedated." Although the 110-year-old house was a total loss, McGinnis said, "This is a very stark reminder that stuff is stuff—we have everything we need." According to WTSP, investigators say the homeowner, McGinnis's boyfriend, was using an outdoor fire pit earlier in the evening. He later fell asleep on the couch, only to be awakened by the glare of flames, which by then had engulfed the garage and were spreading to the house. The fire's cause is still under investigation. (More house fire stories.)

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