Six deputies injured rescuing family from burning apartment

11:56 PM, Feb 25, 2013   |    comments
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Woodfield Apartments Fire Photo courtesy of: Shaun DeWolf

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - A team of Kent County Sheriff's Deputies who saved a family from a burning building say they relied on their training, instinct and each other. They rescued a mother and her three children early Monday morning from the Woodfield Apartments, south of 60th Street.

Six deputies were the first to arrive at the apartment fire around 1 a.m. Authorities say a resident was cooking and poured water on burning grease. Smoke soon began spreading from one unit throughout the apartment building.

A mother called 911 to say she was trapped on her third floor balcony. Although struggling to breathe in the dark dense smoke, the team of Kent County deputies crawled on their stomachs to reach the residents and to make sure the rest of the building was empty.

Even though it was difficult to see and breathe, the deputies say they knew they had to keep searching until they found the mother and children and knew everyone was safe.

"Part of our job is to protect and defend those who can't do it for themselves and we just have to kind of sacrifice ourselves sometimes for them to make sure they are OK," said Deputy Joel Langeland.

"As any officer or firefighter that does this, the best feeling is when you know you are back out and you are getting fresh air and they have made it-- that's the best feeling," said Deputy Ed Kolakowski.

The deputies were all treated for smoke inhalation and were given oxygen, but all are fit for duty.

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