Mesa police rescue man from burning apartment complex

Mesa police released body cam video of a rescue their officers did last week saving a man from a fully engulfed house fire.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 12:54 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Mesa Police Department says its officers put themselves in harm’s way to rescue a man from a burning apartment complex. It happened last Tuesday evening.

Police say Lt. Bryan Soller was patrolling the area of 63rd and Main streets around 5:30 p.m. when he spotted the fire. The back of the complex was fully engulfed in flames, and neighbors were standing around. Mesa PD says Soller called the fire departments and then went to see if anybody needed help. There was a 63-year-old man in the burning apartment; he could not escape by himself.

Soller began smashing windows to get inside the apartment. Once Soller was inside, he tried to get the man out through the windowsill but couldn’t pull the man up by himself. A neighbor quickly ran over to help the lieutenant. Soller told the neighbor, “We got one shot here. If we don’t get him out, we’re going to watch him die.”

Soller and the neighbor were able to hoist the man over the windowsill and get him out of the burning apartment. According to the Mesa Police Department, Soller and another officer suffered smoke inhalation. “At that point, I had taken in a lot of smoke, and the second we got him out, I just dropped because I couldn’t get my breath. I’m on all fours trying to breathe,” said Soller.

Both were taken to the hospital but have since been released. The man they rescued was taken to the hospital, as well. Police said his injuries were not life-threatening.

Soller said the one thing on his mind during the frightening ordeal was to get the man out. “It’s heartwrenching when you think there’s a human being in there, and you can’t help him. And when I was pulling him and trying to get him out, I’m here thinking, ‘Am I gonna watch this guy die?’ And I’m like, ‘I can’t let this guy die, not in front of me,’” said Soller.

The Mesa Fire & Medical Department said the fire started outside in some old cardboard and leaves. They believe the high winds that day whipped up the flames and spread them to the house.