Video: Cop rescues stranded dog from burning home
Officer Travis Sodon climbed up scaffolding to reach the frightened pup, which was stranded on the balcony
By Andrew J. Goudsward
Asbury Park Press
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, N.J. — Borough police Patrolman Travis Sodon had one question as he arrived at the scene of a house fire in August: "What about the dogs?"
Police determined the burning home was unoccupied, but there were pets on the property including a dog stranded on a raised second-story porch. Smoke was already pouring out of the first floor.
Body-camera footage released by the department Tuesday shows Sodon scrambling to reach the dog and moving quickly to find a way up to the porch.
He grabbed scaffolding from the side of the house, moved it to the front yard and climbed on top of it in an attempt to rescue the dog. But the scaffolding wasn't high enough to reach the balcony, Chief David Rossbach said in a Facebook post.
So former Borough Fire Chief Brian Sheehan grabbed a chair from the front yard and handed it up to Sodon. The officer then stood on top of the chair and climbed to the side of the roughly 15-foot high balcony, where he was able to lift the stranded dog up by the collar and hand the pooch to onlookers who had gathered at the scene, Rossbach said. You can see the footage in the video at the top of this story.
"Patrolman Sodon risked his personal safety to rescue the dog with assistance from Fire Chief Sheehan, Sergeant (Brian) Phair, and the good Samaritans who stopped to assist," Rossbach said in the Facebook post.
The chief released body-camera footage of the Aug. 16 rescue on Tuesday "to show a fine example of the extraordinary work that our first responders do on a day in and day out basis."
Emergency crews had been dispatched to the home after receiving reports of an explosion and a structure fire.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and were able to save the house, Rossbach said. Another dog was removed from the back of the house.
Sodon will receive a meritorious service award to recognize his efforts in rescuing the dog, the chief said.
On August 16, 2020 emergency responders were dispatched to a residence after receiving reports of an explosion and working structure fire. When Sergeant Brian Phair and Patrolman Travis Sodon arrived smoke was billowing from the first floor. It was quickly determined that the house was unoccupied with the exception of several family pets. Quick thinking, Patrolman Sodon moved scaffolding from the side of the house to a raised second story porch in an effort to rescue a dog which was trapped on the porch. After climbing the scaffolding, Patrolman Sodon realized he was not high enough and needed a chair to stand on. Former Fire Chief Brian Sheehan was able to retrieve a chair from the yard and hand it up to Patrolman Sodon, who then climbed onto the chair and onto the side of the porch and was able reach over the railing, grab the dog and hand it down to good samaritans who stopped to assist. The raised second story porch was at least 15' high as you can see from the video obtained from Patrolman Sodon's body worn camera. Patrolman Sodon risked his personal safety to rescue the dog with assistance from Fire Chief Sheehan, Sergeant Phair, and the good samaritans who stopped to assist. The Firemen were able to quickly extinguish the fire and save the house and another dog was removed from the rear of the house as well. I am happy to share the body worn camera footage from this rescue, as it is a fine example of the extraordinary work that our first responders do on a day in and day out basis. Patrolman Sodon is going to be presented with a meritorious service award at a later date to recognize his daring efforts. Great job by all. Chief RossbachPosted by Atlantic Highlands Police Department on Tuesday, November 17, 2020
(c)2020 the Asbury Park Press (Neptune, N.J.)