It was a day Officer Stephen Coleman will never forget. Back in February, he was dispatched to a mobile home fire in Fresno. Fire crews hadn't arrived yet, when he realized a woman was inside.
“The woman was screaming. She was screaming for help,” explained Coleman. He said everything happened so fast, “You pretty much react. You take the existing situations and you basically say, this is what you have to work with and you just deal with it.”
He and two good Samaritans went inside to save her by using a board they found nearby.
“We ended up using the board as a shield to protect us,” he said.
They were able to get take the woman out of her fully engulfed home. She suffered third degree burns to nearly 65% of her body and eventually passed away. Coleman suffered smoke inhalation and 1st degree burns to his head, face and hands.
It was a standing ovation for Coleman, as he was recognized for his heroic actions that day.
“It's no different than anyone else here today. We do what we do because it's like what the chief said, ‘a calling.’ And I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity,” said Coleman.
The Fresno Police department held its annual major commendation ceremony at Fresno City Hall. Coleman was one of 24 officers who received medals or awards. Officer Dalain Medina was one of 19 who received a lifesaving medal.
“I'm extremely proud and grateful,” she expressed.
She helped save a man who tried committing suicide. She explained, “We were fearing he was going to hurt himself inside the room once he barricaded himself inside the room. We wanted to make sure he didn't hurt himself or anyone else.
They are acts of heroism Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he couldn't be more proud of.
“Today we got to hear some stories about officers that not only risk their lives to save the life of another, but to save the life of an individual or individuals who didn't want to be saved, that is above and beyond the call of duty,” said Dyer.
Several other officers were given awards for achievement and merit.
This was the Fresno Police Department's 15th Annual Major Commendation Ceremony.