Two quick-thinking officers ran into a house fire and saved the lives of three people asleep in their beds, Oceanside Police officials said Monday.
Officer Samuel Hay has been an police officer for more than a decade but has no fire rescue training. Even so, Hay rushed into a burning home on Heather Lane last week because he was told six people were inside.
Hay and fellow officer Brannon Heathman saved the lives of three people asleep in their beds, officials told NBC 7.
Officer Hay was heading home for the night around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, October 5 when he heard the fire call and realized he was just half a minute away.
Hay and Heathman arrived to the home before the fire department and found the garage fully engulfed in flames.
"There was probably 20, 30-foot flames," Hay said as he recalled the incident Monday.
Through a window the off-duty officers awoke one sleeping resident. That person opened the front door allowing the officers to rush inside and frantically search the smoke-filled home for the others.
The fire was quickly spreading to the living room and kitchen.
"We were basically running around the house dodging smoke and flames," Hay said.
The officers found two people asleep in their beds. The other three occupants weren't home at the time of the fire.
When Hay recalled the rescue, he considered his actions as part of the job.
“We make quick decisions all the time. You have that short timeline and you just sort of react and do what you need to do,” Hay said.
"As police officers, we do it because we do it," he explained.
The victims want to meet with the officers to thank them for saving their lives.
The 12-year veteran officer will be recognized for his bravery in an emergency. In January he and Heathman will receive the lifesaving merit award, which is worn on their uniforms, officials said.
It is a commendation for dedication to duty and bravery.