UPDATE: Dalton police officers save man from house fire
By WRCB Staff
67-year-old James Nelson
DALTON, GA (WRCB) -
UPDATE: "Sunday morning I was patrolling the area of Lamar Street" said Officer, Matthew Dykes. "I just smelled smoke in the area; I was looking around to see where it was coming from."
Officer Dykes didn't have to look far to spot smoke billowing from 67-year-old James Nelson's home.
"I was able to run up to the front door and I started knocking on the front door, when I did that I heard a man saying he couldn't get to the front door," said Dykes. "I went off the instincts that I had to try and help this man out, because once I realized I knew we had to do something to get him out."
Nelson was in the rear of the home, the flames at the front. With all of the windows and back door boarded up help keep out noise from a nearby train, there was no way out.
"The room was ablaze, all I could see was the sofa on fire, the chair on fire," said Nelson.
Dykes called for back-up, while trying to keep contact with Nelson.
"As long as he was talking, I knew he was still breathing," said Dykes.
Michael Hughes and Aaron Simpson arrived, and as Hughes worked to put out the fire.
"Took a deep breath, i immediately just began spraying the extinguisher on the fire," said Hughes.
Officer Simpson went looking for a way in.
"I went to the back of the house to try and makeentry, I found a window that was slightly cracked," said Simpson. "I went inside the house and was able to carry him back to the window."
A firefighter met him at the window and for the first time since they arrived, after performing a rescue they'd never trained for, all three were able to breathe.
"It's scary, but it's something we do. We're here to protect lives and property," said Hughes.
"I'm just thankful they were here," said Nelson.
Dykes says he's just thankful he found the fire in time.
"That's all it was, was that I was in the right place at the right time," said Dykes. "He probably would have lost his life, but he's got another day to live."
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Nelson tells Channel 3 he was lucky, because his cell phone was on the burning couch and he wouldn't have been able to call for help.
If you'd like to help Nelson contact the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia.
PREVIOUS STORY: A Dalton man is alive thanks to the actions of Dalton police officers and firefighters after his house caught on fire.
67-year-old James Nelson was pulled from his burning house on Lamar Street by an officer and firefighter on Sunday morning after waking up to find his couch on fire.
Officer Matthew Dykes was on patrol in the area of Lamar Street around 7:30 Sunday morning when he smelled smoke and saw smoke coming from the front of a home on Lamar Street.
After calling the fire in to dispatchers, Officer Dykes was able to make contact with Nelson through the door who told the officer the was unable to get out.
Officer Dykes was unable to open the front door, so he broke out the front window and reached in to unlock the deadbolt and kicked in the door.
Another police officer, Michael Hughes arrived onscene with a fire extinguisher and worked to put out flames near the front door. Both officers attempted to go inside, but were unable due to thick smoke.
Both officers were still unable to see Nelson but were able to talk to him. After the third officer, Aaron Simpson arrived on the scene, he found a window in the back of the house unlocked and was unable to get Nelson to move toward the window.
Officer Simpson was able to to enter the home through the unlocked window and help Nelson get out of the house through the window.
Nelson was checked out by paramedics at the scene and then declined to be transported to the hospital.
The Red Cross has arranged for temporary housing for him. The Dalton Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire.