SEBASTIAN, Fla. — Some Sebastian police officers are being praised for racing into a burning home to save a man inside before firefighters could get to the scene.
Neighbors along Valencia Street called 911 early Saturday morning when they saw smoke coming from the house next door.
Officer Steve Marcinik was at the station, just a mile from the home, and responded to the call. He was first on scene.
“Came on scene, there was quite a bit of smoke coming from the residence,” Marcinik said.
He personally knew the resident, Rodney, who also works for the county.
“I know that guy that lives here, Rodney, I’ve known him for about 20 years. And the neighbor told me he was still inside,” Marcinik said.
He ran into the home, calling for Rodney, but got no response.
Because the home was already filling with thick smoke, he ran back outside to catch his breath, before running inside again.
“Went back in, I was yelling for Rodney and finally heard his voice. It was further back in his room,” Marcinik said.
He made his way to the back room and found Rodney.
“He wasn’t cooperative and he was really disoriented,” Marcinik said.
Unable to get him to cooperate and get out of the house, Marcinik went outside again to get fresh air.
This time, two other officers arrived on scene.
Officer Thomas Quinn and Corporal Ritchie Revis ran into the home with Marcinik.
“If we didn’t get him out that time, I was hoping the fire department was going to get there much faster because that was about the extent of all I would take,” Marcinik said.
The three men were able to start dragging Rodney out of the house, but the two officers were also concerned about how much smoke Marcinik had been exposed to.
“My guys here, they yelled at me and told me to get out, I was in too long, and they continued to pull him out,” Marcinik said. “They were able to make their escape out of this [back] door.”
Firefighters arrived within minutes of the 911 call, but police were able to get Rodney out of the house as firefighters were arriving on scene.
Marcinik was briefly hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
He’s grateful to his team for having his back, and says this shows how important it is that firefighters and police work together as a team to keep the community safe.
“We work great together,” Marcinik said.
The homeowner is still hospitalized, but expected to be OK.