“But, the real story belongs to the Craig Police Department. What those three officers did tonight was nothing short of heroic and they did great.”
— Bill Johnston, Craig Fire/Rescue Chief, on Sgt. Corey Wagner and officers Lance Eldridge and Mike Edwards, of the Craig Police Department
Nearly the entire roster of Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters responded to a structure fire Tuesday night at 1912 Woodland Ave., the department’s fourth call in less than 24 hours.
“But, the real story belongs to the Craig Police Department,” Fire Chief Bill Johnston said. “What those three officers did tonight was nothing short of heroic and they did great.”
At approximately 7:44 p.m., emergency personnel were paged to a report of a fire near Woodbury Park.
Sgt. Corey Wagner, and officers Lance Eldridge and Mike Edwards were first on the scene.
As the officers approached the burning home, Edwards said he could hear someone inside.
“Mike was the first one to reach the door,” Wagner said. “The door was open, but there was so much smoke coming out of the front door you couldn’t see anything inside.”
Edwards kneeled below the smoke and made contact with one of the occupants inside the home, a male. The occupant was not far from the doorway and Edwards went in to get him.
Once Edwards had hold of the man, Wagner and Eldridge grabbed their partner and helped pull the man out of the home to safety.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our officers, they went above and beyond the call,” Police Chief Walt Vanatta said. “They did everything the right way given the circumstances and not having the proper equipment.”
The man was loaded into an ambulance and taken to The Memorial Hospital in Craig. A status on his condition was not available as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A second occupant of the home, a female, could not be saved. She was pronounced dead at the scene and transported to the coroner’s office, Vanatta said.
Firefighters were still battling the blaze late Tuesday night.
Johnston said he did not know the cause or origin of the fire and would not be able to begin an investigation until the blaze was fully suppressed.
“I can’t tell you much,” he said. “When I arrived the flames were probably 30-feet high and it looked like the fire started in the rear, left side of the house, but we won’t know anything until I can get my investigators inside.”