Lt. Dana Collum and Sgt. Dan Bickers of the Floyd County Police Department had just finished lunch when they heard a call about the fire at 16 Southern Woods Drive just off Ga. 156 and turned around, Bickers said.
When they arrived at the residence, the doors and windows were locked, so Collum kicked the door open, Bickers said.
“The smoke had almost made it to the floor,” Bickers said. “It was hard to breathe.”
The detectives couldn’t see anything but could hear a woman crying for help. When they got closer, they could see the flames at the foot of the bed.
They put the fire out, opened a window and tried to get the woman into a wheelchair.
But the wheelchair had been damaged in the fire, Bickers said, so they carried her out of the residence.
The woman, who was not identified, was taken to Redmond Regional Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to Capt. Gene Proctor of the Rome-Floyd Fire Department.
Bickers and Collum refused treatment and were back at work shortly after the fire.
The fire started when a cigarette made contact with the tubing for an oxygen tank, causing it to catch fire, Proctor said.
The home sustained little damage, he said.
“But if they (Bickers and Collum) hadn’t been there it could have been worse,” Proctor said.
Floyd County Police Chief Bill Shiflett said he wasn’t surprised at the detectives’ actions.
“As I understand both officers reacted quickly to the situation, disregarding their own safety,” Shiflett said. “Their courage and training allowed them to do the only thing they knew to do — get the person to safety. I am very proud of their heroics and the courage it took to get the job done. I am so thankful they are all going home to their family tonight.”