Fire, smoke didn't stop Berlin officers
Sgt. Nathan Roy and patrol officer Matt Carter's split-second decision to enter the burning building at 613 Western Ave. likely saved the life of homeowner Cynthia Gagnon. The officers, working the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift, were at the station doing paperwork when a neighbor of Gagnon's called in the fire at 3:24 a.m.
"The whole back of the house was in flames," Roy said.
They parked their cruisers out of the way, so that when the fire department arrived there would be plenty of room. Carter went to the front door, Roy to the side door.
He kicked the breezeway door in and entered. "The smoke was very thick; I couldn't see much."
Carter, who had kicked in the front door, had come around the corner of the house and was on the breezeway steps. Carter grabbed Gagnon and lifted her up, then ran across the street, carrying her to safety.
The officers' actions won them the praise of the mayor and council, the fire department and the Berlin Police Commission.
Chief Randall Trull of the Berlin Fire Department said: "I commend the officers in two different ways: one, they put themselves at risk for the safety of others; two, they showed professionalism in how they did it by acting as if it was (just) another day on the job."
"You get there and you do what you can," he said.
About the Hero Awards
The Union Leader Hero Awards honor New Hampshire residents who have risked their lives in the previous year to save or attempt to save the life of another person.
The program is sponsored by Citizens Bank and presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader.
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