2 Mesa officers recognized for quick response saving bedridden woman, son from fire

Thanks to Mesa police officers, a 90-year-old woman was saved from a burning apartment earlier this month
A fire erupted at a Mesa apartment building and two officers rushed to save a mother and son before the flames spread.
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 8:02 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2022 at 8:36 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Two Mesa police officers are being called heroes throughout the department and community after their bravery and quick response during a massive three-story apartment fire earlier this month. They saved two older people inside the complex, including a bedridden woman.

Arizona’s Family was the first to see new body camera footage of the rescue. The video shows a terrifying scene with flames bursting out of a unit in the Cimarron Apartment Complex near Center and Main streets on Dec. 2.

Officer Clark was on his way home from the station, right down the road from the complex, when he saw black smoke in the sky. “I went into the apartment complex, I rounded the corner and saw the building engulfed in flames,” he said.

Clark called for backup, and in minutes Officer Dowell and others arrived on scene as the blaze quickly spread. Footage shows officers jumping into action to evacuate the building. “I think instincts kicked in,” Clark said. “If we can help them, we’re going to help them, regardless of what’s going to happen to us.”

His body camera footage shows Clark kicking down apartment doors as the smoke filled their lungs. Officers are heard coughing and trying to catch their breath. “It’s an adrenaline rush for sure,” Dowell explained. “When you know that you’re the only one there to help someone.”

That someone was an older man and his 90-year-old bedridden mother. “Once we knew there was someone inside, it was a no-brainer for us to go in and try to help them,” Dowell said.

Dowell and Clark are seen in the video lifting the woman from her bed and navigating through a smoke-filled room. They managed to get out of the apartment and safely save the woman. Mesa police told us she was treated for inhalation that day and is now doing okay, but it could have been a different outcome if Mesa officers didn’t spring into action when they did.

Later, firefighters arrived at the complex to put the blaze out. “You don’t get the recognition, but you can reflect back on it and yeah this is why I joined,” Officer Clark said.

Born and raised in Mesa, Dowell said the community has always been good to him. “It makes me feel good to give back to the community I grew up in,” he said.

Mesa police said the fire damaged six units, but thankfully no one was hurt. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.