If you saw a building on fire would you immediately run in to search and save the people inside? That's what one area deputy did, saving a half-dozen lives and now he's being recognized for his bravery.
Romeo Santana, road deputy for Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received the Life Saving Award from the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) Palm Beach Law Chapter 254 Law Enforcement Officer Awards after saving the lives of six elderly people from a two-story residential complex fire on May 26, 2018 in Vero Beach.
Santana, who arrived before firefighters, went where the fire was most intense -- charging into smoke-filled units searching and rescuing tenants. All the while the roof was collapsing on top of him.
“I see the magnitude of the fire and the first thing in my head is I can’t just let these people burn, you know what I mean,” said Santana. “Some of them weren’t able to move by themselves because they were in wheelchairs.”
Approximately one year later, Santana’s superiors say had it not been for the disregard for his own safety and health, the scenario could have ended differently. But Santana says it comes with the territory of being a road deputy.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to be even considered a hero,” he said. “I’m a deputy just doing what I took an oath to do every day and I just love doing it and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”
The ASIS Palm Beach Law Chapter 254 Law Enforcement Officer Awards represents over 40 different police agencies and sheriff’s offices in four counties.