DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The three Dallas police officers credited with rescuing a family from a burning home on Wednesday received commendations Thursday from the chief.
Although their uniforms now sport bars that show they’ve saved a life — all three officers are wearing their “hero” status well.
Dallas Police Senior Corporal William ‘Dave’ Regan, Officer Arturo Martinez and Senior Corporal Derold Thomas accepted the applause from their colleagues almost bashfully. The men then proudly accepted a life saving commendation from Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
“These three officers really are exemplary in the way they conducted themselves in this particular thing,” Chief Brown told the crowd.
In the early morning hours of December 8 while on routine patrol, the officers smelled smoke and followed it to Lakeshia Harris’ burning home on West Red Bird Lane. Harris and her three young daughters were all asleep inside.
“We just acted on impulse. We did what we had to do,” Officer Martinez said matter-of-factly.
Rookie Officer Martinez, who has been on the streets just 12 weeks, took drastic action to get in the house by grabbing a shovel and breaking the patio door. “”It had to have been divine intervention. There was no reason…why would there be a shovel there, right next to the door for us to use?” he said.
Lakeshia Harris remembers being awakened to the sound of yelling. “The police came in and they were like, ‘Get out! Get out! Get the kids out! We’ll get the kids! Get out of the house!’”
Senior corporals Thomas and Regan rushed to get Harris’ girls, as the house filled with blinding, choking smoke.
Sr. Cpl. Regan said the goal was to get everyone out of the house. “We just went straight up. We saw the mom, asked her how many kids she had and got them out as fast as we could,” he said.
In spite of the accolades, all of the officers insist that they were just doing their jobs. “My mother’s mostly proud right now… and the wife,” Officer Martinez told the crowd.
If you listen to Sr. Cpl. Regan it was just another day. “[I’m} “grateful for the honor, like everybody else, but I don’t think it’s gonna change the way I work.”
Sr. Cpl. Thomas had a different idea of the definition of a hero. “This is the job that we do. At any given time, anything can happen. Heroes are the people who sacrificed their lives for us to be where we’re at today.”
Thanks to the officers, 32-year-old Harris and her three young daughters, ages 4, 7 and 8, received no injuries.