A police officer who broke down doors to save residents from an apartment building fire was commended by his boss yesterday.
Sgt. Greg Mason happened to be the first person to respond to a fire call at an apartment building on Albro Lake Road in Dartmouth early one September morning last year.
“I tried to extinguish the fire using the fire extinguisher in my police truck but the fire was too big,” he said. “It just gained strength again.”
The fire department was on its way, but for now Mason was on his own.
Mason banged on ground-level windows to rouse the people inside, but he wasn’t getting any response. He forced the front door open and went to the apartment closest to the fire — it was vacant.
“Then I assisted other people getting out of their apartments and I made my way up to the top floor where there was a woman and two small children who weren’t able to get out because there was a mattress on the floor blocking their door,” he said.
Mason kicked the door in and helped the family get out.
He said the adrenaline was pumping but he focused on getting everybody out.
“Really I wasn’t thinking about it,” he said. “If the fire and smoke had been intense enough to keep me out of there then I would have had to wait for (the fire department).”
There were spots in the building Mason couldn’t reach because the smoke was too thick, but luckily no one was seriously injured.
Yesterday the 39-year-old officer was given a chief’s commendation by Frank Beazley, chief of police.
“I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like to be acknowledged for their work, but like everybody else here that’s not the reason why we do it,” Mason said.
“It’s a little embarrassing to be singled out to be honest.”