MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was just the second day into the New Year when fire broke out at a Melrose Manors, Fort Lauderdale home on SW 3rd Street and 30th Ave.
Sadly, the elderly man who lives there did not survive, that’s despite what’s called the “heroic efforts” by two Fort Lauderdale Police officers.
Body Cam video shows When Officer Bryan David arrived, it was a full-on ran to the front door as he was trying to get in.
The door was locked. Meanwhile, his partner Officer Taylor hall was around back trying to breach through the back door, pounding it with her department-issued fire extinguisher.
“I’m thinking someone’s grandpa is inside and we need to get them out as quick as possible,” Officer Taylor said.
John McCutcheon, 81, was inside, someone needed to get to him fast. Office David used a shovel, trying to pry open the front door.
Bodycam video shows when that did not work he broke the jalousie windows next to the door, climbed in, and unlocked it so he and Officer Hall could race inside.
They headed to the victim’s bedroom. “Go there, give a few good kicks, hopefully, it will open, but it didn’t,” said Officer David. Officer Hall explained, “It was super dark. We’re calling out for John, we’re not getting a response. He’s in the hallway trying to bang down the door to get into the bedroom, it was so Smokey and dark that we had to back out of it,” she recalled.
Both came out coughing from the heavy smoke. The fire department arrived a couple of minutes later.
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As the fire department rushed in trying to rescue the elderly man, officers Taylor and Hall went in again looking for more victims— this time for a full minute.
They found no one. When they got back outside, that’s when they learned there was another danger inside the burning home. A neighbor told them, “He keeps a lot of weapons, ammo and weapons in his room.”
Sadly, McCutcheon did not survive despite their best efforts. The medical examiner ruled that he died of smoke inhalation. Officer Hall said the actions of her partner tell about him. “It says that he is really brave and he values human life and that he takes his job really seriously,” Hall said.
Officer David said Hall puts others’ needs before her own. “She puts people before herself,” he said. “She’s very brave.”
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said, “What these officers did was heroic. They went into a building, searching for individuals knowing they may become a patient themself. They may not make it outside this building.
Gollan said situations like this show the importance of cross-training officers and firefighters in an effort to save lives.