Prosper Police officer Seanna Arrendondo was recently recognized for her work in evacuating a family from their burning home.
During a recent Town Council meeting, Arrendondo received a Life Saving Award from the Town of Prosper Police Department for her heroic actions. The Town of Prosper Fire Department also recognized members of their staff who assisted in putting the fire out.
On April 28 at 12:53 a.m., officers were dispatched to a general area in Prosper regarding a reported structure fire which was initiated by a lightning strike. At the time, the exact address was unknown.
“Officer Arrendondo responded and was able to locate the house,” Police Chief Doug Kowalski said during the council meeting. “She relayed the address to dispatch and notified the fire personnel. She then knocked on the door of the house and was met by a female adult who was completely unaware that the house was on fire. Officer Arrendondo ordered the family out, and then went into the home to assist the adults in carrying out the children. The fire had ignited most of the roof and spread onto the second floor where the children’s bedroom was located. Officer Arrendondo evacuated the family. Fire personnel arrived on the scene and engaged the fire, which had fully engulfed the roof within a short period of time.”
While the family is dealing with insurance to get their house rebuilt, the fire department later received a neighbor’s video that showed the fire began at least 30 minutes before the emergency service units got the first call. Moreover, the children were located right below where the fire was when they were found and evacuated.
“That was one of those calls where everything had to go right for them to get out of there,” Fire Chief Stuart Blasingame said during the meeting. “Part of it is that, in my opinion, that family was blessed beyond measure that for 30 minutes, the roof of their house sustained significant damage. I pulled in right behind her (Arrendondo), saw her going in, saw her running out real quick with the children and with the family. I couldn’t believe that with as much fire that was on that roof, they had no idea that fire was burning; it had a significant head start.”
In addition to Arrendondo’s evacuation of all of the family members, the fire department was also able to rescue the family’s pet dogs.
“It meant an awful lot to them, they were very concerned because pets are sometimes like children,” Blasingame said. “When something happens like that, people running in your house, banging on doors, knocking things down, and things start falling through the ceiling, they went and hid. It was on some of the search and rescues that our crews went in and located them. They were wet, dirty with a little bit of smoke, and our crews got them outside and got them to our medics. Believe it or not, our medics were there to put oxygen on them and got them back. Within 20-25 minutes we had them reunited back with their family.”
Despite all of the successes, one firefighter, Timothy Jay King, was injured. King had surgery a few weeks ago, and will be out for another six or seven months.
“Keep in mind we’ve got about 30 minutes is what we’re estimating that fire burned before we got there on scene,” Blasingame said. “So, when one of the secondary crews were going to the second floor, a roof rafter burned completely through, fell through the roof, through the sheet rock, and struck him in the shoulder. He tore his labrum, he tore his rotator cuff and it didn’t slow TJ down a bit. He was in pain, he hurt, and TJ got up, and continued pouring the hose, continued spraying water, trying the best he could to put the house fire out.”
In Blasingame’s conclusion, he highlighted the teamwork and dedication that is required in order to carry out a job of this scale. Between Officer Arrendondo actions, the several different fire department crews, medics, dispatchers and the police department, partnership is key.
“A couple house fires a year is pretty low compared to most of the municipalities around us, but when we do get them, they’re significant,” Blasingame said. “This was one that with Officer Arrendondo’s actions helping us to get the family out allowed us to concentrate on getting the fires. We just wanted to say thank you to all the crews that were there, and tell everybody that there’s nothing that we do that is not teamwork, that has to be lined up not just from the fire side, but from the police, and our dispatchers. They have to gel into one on any of these things, or they don’t work out like they did.”