‘That’s what we get paid to do, to save lives:’ Officers save elderly couple in house fire


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Two officers with the Portsmouth Police Department are credited for rescuing an elderly couple from a house fire Saturday afternoon. 

According to Portsmouth Police spokesperson Misty Holley, Officer Long and Officer Nelson were in the 2700 block of Ash Street around 1:30 p.m. speaking with a citizen about another incident when they saw flames coming from the window of a nearby home. 

The officers ran to the home and let police communications know there was a possible house fire. 

Inside the home, Holley said the officers found an elderly couple attempting to put out the fire with a pan of water. The officers helped the couple out of the home safely. 

Officer Nelson grabbed a fire extinguisher from his patrol car and put the fire out while Officer Long stayed with the couple, according to Holley. 

The Portsmouth Fire Department arrived and made sure the fire was completely extinguished in addition to checking the couple over for possible injuries. 

Holley said the fire was reportedly caused by a space heater that was placed too close to bedding in the home. 

The officers’ quick response prevented the home from becoming a fully-involved fire that could have resulted in serious injuries or even death. 

Holley said this also serves as a reminder keep space heaters away from flammable items in the home. 

“That’s what we get paid to do, to save lives,” said Portsmouth Police Officer David Long.

He says when he and Officer Nelson looked over towards the home and saw it was on fire, their first reaction was to run over and see if help was needed.

The homeowner’s were inside, trying to put it out themselves. 

“She had a bucket. She was trying to douse a mattress with water and Nelson went into the room, seen it was a mattress, went back to his car and got a fire extinguisher out of his car and extinguished the fire and we got em out,” Officer Long described.

The mattress didn’t make it, but the people inside did and they say they are grateful. “It feels good. It shows they on the ball, they on the job,” said Ernest Davis, the homeowner.

Officer Long said it was instinct and he would do it again in a heartbeat. “Could have been me, could have been anybody else, somebody in my family, but you know that’s what we are here for — to help,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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