A police officer in Upstate New York is being hailed as a hero after body camera footage showed him rushing into a house engulfed in flames to rescue a family that had been trapped in the upstairs of the residence, police said.
According to the Jamestown Police Department, Officer Mark Conklin, while responding to a different call, was alerted to a possible house fire in the area, which is located about 70 miles outside of Buffalo. “Without hesitation,” Conklin proceeded to run to the scene where he found one of the home’s occupants standing outside. That person told Conklin there were five people still trapped inside the house.
“While requesting the Jamestown Fire Department over his radio and standing next to extreme heat, Officer Conklin directed the trapped occupants to jump from the upstairs window and proceeded to catch them,” the department said in a statement Monday evening.
According to a report from local ABC-affiliate WJET-TV, Conklin first helped three people outside from the first story of the home before catching the mother and one child, both of whom jumped to safety from the second story.
The Jamestown Police Department released footage of the body camera worn by Conklin during the incident.
The footage appears to show Conklin sprinting in the dark across several yards as he searches for the exact location of the fire and making sure that he has the correct address to relay to the fire department.
“I believe there’s entrapment,” he says to the dispatcher, referring to the possibility that there are people still inside the house.
He then comes across a person moving away from the house who yells, “They’re in there.” Conklin then appears to grab a child from a side door on the first floor and carry them away from the building.
He asks the child to confirm that they’re on William Street, before placing them outside of the property line and running back towards the flaming house.
The most dramatic part of the rescue happens off-camera, as Conklin stands at the base of the home and repeatedly says, “Jump. Jump. I’ve got you,” before a loud thud can be heard and the camera is covered, presumably from Conklin catching either the child or the mother who had jumped from the second story.
“I can say that I have seen many examples of heroism over the years by officers,” Jamestown police chief Tim Jackson said in a statement to WJET. “After watching the video of this incident and speaking to others involved, I can say that the actions of Officer Conklin were, to say the least, one of the most outstanding examples of bravery, heroism, and exemplary service I have seen. We, the Jamestown Police Department, are honored to have officers such as Mark Conklin working in the Jamestown Police Department.”
A GoFundMe has been started for the family whose home was destroyed. Pearl City Pets, a local business has also set up a clothing donation for the family.
[image via YouTube/Jamestown Police Department screengrab]
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