FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – It was an emotional reunion between a man, who had been dragged from his burning home, and the three three River Oaks police officers who saved his life. All of the men came together for the second time at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth Wednesday afternoon.

John Sauer, 53, had tears of relief and the officers had tears of joy.

Sauer, who is disabled, was lying on the floor in a smoke filled, pitch black bedroom as fire roared through his home early Wednesday morning. He’d already told his son to flee to safety and other family members had escaped.

As the fire licked at the door of the bedroom room, hands came in through the choking smoke and dragged him to safety.

Officers Timothy Whitley, Nathan Wilson and Sergeant Steve Nance described the toxic atmosphere.

“The smoke is, it burns your eyes. It burns your lungs,” Officer Wilson said. “You can’t do anything in it. So, we were basically taking turns fully and then getting out, getting fresh air and going back in and pulling some more.”

“Immediately your eyes started burning, watering up,” Sgt. Nance said. “You have to poke your head out [of the house] coughing up whenever you can, take a breath and go back in.”

Sauer didn’t know who saved his life until the emotional reunion. Sauer had been talking to reporters from his hospital bed when the officers arrived.

“Thank you!” Sauer said tearfully. “Thank all of you. I appreciate y’all dragging me out of there. I got scrapes and cuts but that ain’t nothing compared to what I coulda had. You know, burns and blisters.”

Looking back on his circumstance Sauer said, “That fire was that far away from me I know,” as he motioned with his hands spaced about three feet apart.

“I was telling the guys last night after it was all over, I cried,” Officer Wilson admitted. “You have so much emotion, you just don’t know how to express it. Grown men cried and I’m not ashamed. I’m just glad everybody’s okay.”

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