WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Two White Plains police officers rescued an 84-year-old man from his burning home last week.
Public Safety Commissioner David Chong expressed his gratitude Monday to the heroic police officers and emergency medical services crew who saved the man's life as well as the White Plains Fire Department for putting the fire out quickly at 42 Liberty St. on Thursday..
According to police reports, Patrol Officer Joseph Garafolo arrived at the scene of the active fire first, about 11:18 p.m. on April 2. Garafolo located a resident outside of the home. This resident advised the police officer that there was another elderly male trapped inside the burning home.
Garafolo attempted to gain entry, but the door was locked. He kicked the door and forcibly gained entry to the home. Garafolo sustained an injury to his knee while kicking the door, but refused to let that stop him, police said.
After entering the home, Garafolo found the 84-year-old male on the top floor. The man was having difficulty walking and breathing due to heavy smoke. Despite being injured, Garafolo, along with Police Officer Anthony Carra who had just arrived, carried the elderly male to safety.
Chong said that Garafolo was taken to the hospital for his injured knee and smoke inhalation but was released and is recovering. The elderly man also is doing well.
"They did an incredible job. They risked their lives to go in there,'' Chong told Daily Voice. "It was very heroic."
The home was severely damaged by the fire and is uninhabitable. "The Fire Department did a terrific job with putting the fire out fast,'' Chong said. "The man was definitely trapped inside there."
Detectives from the Community Policing and Strategic Initiatives (CASI) unit were able to assist the survivors in obtaining shelter through the American Red Cross.
This call demonstrates the best of everything that the White Plains Police Department offers, according to the local Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which wrote o its Facebook page: "Officer Garafolo and Carra's rapid response to the scene saved time where it was truly of the essence. Their brave actions in risking their own lives without protective equipment to save another has no adequate word to describe it. Specifically, Officer Garafolo's determination, despite being injured, is exceptional. Congratulations gentlemen, on a job well done!"
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