ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — A Zephyrhills family is safe after a freshly sworn-in off-duty Plant City police officer went inside a burning house to help rescue two children.
Just before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Pasco County Fire Rescue 911 operators received a call about a house on Doe Path Court was on fire with children trapped inside, according to a news release.
Officer Michal Pietrusinski of the Plant City Police Department just so happens to live in the area and was walking outside when he reportedly saw large amounts of smoke coming from his neighbor's house.
Fire Rescue says Pietrusinski then heard screams coming from a frantic mother running to the house with one of her kids. But, the off-duty officer knew that she had two other children unaccounted for.
"He immediately sprang into action," the agency explains in the release.
Pietrusinski and his fiancee were able to find a garden hose and go into the house. Once inside, the couple was immediately met with thick smoke which caused them to get on the floor to avoid it, according to Fire Rescue.
While crawling low with one hand, the officer sprayed water on the couch which was reportedly fully engulfed in flames. He then called out to the boys, saying, "If you can hear me, come towards my voice."
But he saw and didn't hear anyone.
Needing to find the two boys, who are both children with autism and non-verbal, Pietrusinski grabbed a shirt and drenched it with water to place over his mouth to breathe. The agency says this was when he started searching the home for the boys.
After several tries of looking for the kids, Pietrusinski finally found one and was able to take him outside to his mother.
With the possible location of the last boy in mind with the help of the mother, the officer attempted to go back inside the burning house, knowing the flames were quickly growing.
Finally, Pasco County Fire Rescue arrived on scene as Pietrusinski tried to extinguish more of the flames to go back in, the release explains. Firefighters quickly entered the house to find the last missing child.
Crews were able to find the boy in a bathroom shower with water running and dense smoke surrounding him, the agency reports. Medical helicopter transport was requested for the boy, and he was pulled from the home conscious and breathing.
Both children were cleared of any medical issues after receiving medical help. Pietrusinski, who was only recently sworn into the police department earlier this month, was treated for smoke inhalation.
"Officer Pietrusinski is a Polish immigrant who served 7.5 years in the U.S. Navy and four years as a Search and Rescue Swimmer," the agency said in the release. "Pasco County Fire Rescue is proud of the brave actions of Officer Pietrusinski, firefighters from engine 16, and all others on the scene that day, who gave it all to save two children."