Fresno Police officers carry 71-year-old woman away from burning home

The woman's 74-year-old husband died in the fire, officials say

FRESNO, Calif. - An untold story of heroism in a Northwest Fresno house fire, which took the life of a 74-year-old man.

That deadly fire happened just days before Christmas, on the 2500 block of W. Rialto avenue.

We knew that woman was taken to the hospital. What we didn't know: four Fresno Police officers went in toward the fire, to make sure she would be safe.



A fire engulfing a Fresno home in just minutes, sending flames into the air. 

First on scene, Fresno Police Officer Carson Sanders. 

"Somewhere between two and four minutes later, the house, fully engulfed," Sanders said.

Three more officers soon arriving, Officers Justin Barnett, Robert Miller and Robert McGuire.

The men first trying to enter the front.

"By the time we breached the door, the only thing that came out was smoke and flames," Sanders said.

Soon, the situation, got worse. The men heard a woman's voice, crying out for help.

"We ended up breaking the fence to get to the back," Sanders said. "And that's when she started yelling, 'I'm in the backyard.'

"My only thought was, hey, let's get her out of there."

The officers crouched down, moving in under the smoke, making their way to the back of the home. 

They found the 71-year-old woman, standing, frozen in place.

"Tried to pull her, she said that she couldn't walk, she, kind of seemed a little disoriented from the smoke," Sanders said. "So at that point, we made the decision to just pick her up and carry her out."

Sanders says, the officers asked if there was anyone else inside. 

The woman said her husband was, but at that point, it was too late to safely enter.

The officers work, getting dozens of positive comments on Facebook; neighbors also applauding their bravery.

"The police action of saving his wife, just unbelievable heroism," neighbor Larry Kirk said.

The danger to Sanders and his fellow officers, just never crossing their minds.

"I wouldn't change it for the world," Sanders said. "I enjoy what I do, I'm happy with what I do, it just comes with the job."

Fire officials tell us the 71-year-old woman is staying with her sister and is doing OK.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe. 

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