Police rescue man trapped in house fire
by Rebecca Johnston
July 27, 2014 12:00 AM | 3896 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three Canton Police officers are being lauded for their heroic efforts in rescuing a handicapped man from his burning home Thursday night.

The home on Marietta Highway had flames shooting from the roof when the police officers arrived as first responders to the call for help, a release from the Canton Police Department said.

Officers Jesse Hamilton, Christine Hedmann and Jose Souto had responded after they learned a man was possibly trapped inside the house, said Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant.

“Sgt. Robbie Campbell overheard the call, and allowed three of his officers to respond to the scene after they learned a man was trapped inside,” Merchant said.

When the officers arrived at the fire at about 9:37 p.m., they saw a wheelchair ramp in the front of the house, he said.

“The fire was in the kitchen with heavy smoke, and when the officers arrived, they went in and located the gentleman, placed him in a wheelchair and got him safely out of the house,” Merchant said.

The officers encountered heavy black smoke, but they were able to locate the victim in a rear bedroom, the release said.

The officers lifted the man into his wheelchair and carried him out in it due to the difficulty of being unable to maneuver it in a timely manner because of the smoke and fire, the release said.

The man was then treated by Cherokee County EMS for minor injuries. He was later identified as R.J. Burge, the police department said.

Merchant said on Friday he received a call from Canton Fire Chief Dean Floyd praising the police officers for disregarding their own safety in order to save the man and recom-mending they be recognized for their actions.

“I think they went above and beyond, and their actions were truly heroic,” Merchant said. “Anytime you go into a burning building, you are risking your own life.”

Merchant said he is recom-mending Hamilton, Hedmann and Souto be given the departmental Life Saving Award.

The Canton Fire Department and the Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services also responded to the call.

Services also responded to the call.

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