CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Several Cleveland Heights police officers are being credited with saving the life of a woman trapped in a burning home.
City officials said police were the first to arrive at the house fire around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday in the 2300 block of Lee Road.
The woman’s husband told officers the woman was on the second floor and could not escape.
Officers Christopher Schiavoni, Victor Lewis and Sgt. Matt Lasker immediately entered the home, but the smoke was thick and heavy and they could not see, police said.
Officer Schiavoni says, “As I pulled up I could see a large amount of flames shooting from the windows from the second floor of the home. The first door was unlocked to get inside. It was difficult to move inside, there was a large collection of smoke making it difficult to see where I was going. I was calling out the woman’s name but couldn’t hear anything. While I was near the second level I could hear the roof like it was coming in.”
The patrolman then exited the home and began talking to the woman’s husband along with his fellow officers Sergeant Lasker and Officer Lewis. That’s when they hear something.
Sergeant Lasker says, “Long story short while we were in the driveway trying to control the victim’s husband who was understandably frantic. Long story short while we were in the driveway trying to control him -- we heard the female screaming from the south side of the house.”
That’s when officers went to the rear of the house, forced open the door and brought the woman to safely.
She was transported to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, but will be OK, police said.
“To be honest with you I don’t really know what was going through my mind at that point. All I know is that the two officers went in there and had to get out quickly because of the conditions inside. I knew we had to get to her quickly and get her out safely,” Sgt. Lasker said.
Officer Victor Lewis tells 19 News, “I’m just glad she’s ok and we got her out - that’s the main thing.”
Two firefighters and three police officers were treated and released for smoke inhalation, exhaustion and dehydration.
“Great job by all CHPD and Fire personnel who were on scene. It was a great team effort in ensuring both residents were safe and did not suffer serious harm,” said Cleveland Heights police.
Chief Annette Mecklenburg says, “The officers' actions last night were truly amazing. They were selfless and heroic and they are all heroes to me. They have to be prepared for just about anything and on this day they arrived to fire that was fully engulfed. The body cam shows thick black smoke pouring out of the house.”
City officials said it took several hours to bring the fire under control.
Part of the problem was the large amount of items stored in the fire area and attic, said city officials.
City officials added the house will likely be a total loss, due to the collapse of portions of the attic into the second floor.