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Ala. cop’s uniform melts off his body as he rescues 3-year-old from fire

“I gotta save this child at all costs,” Officer Tyler Dison recalled

Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department

Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department

By Alison Cutler
The Charlotte Observer

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. — A toddler was trapped inside an Alabama apartment engulfed in flames and firefighters were seven minutes away.

Officer Tyler Dison knew he could make it to the scene in almost half that time.

Rogersville firefighters first received the call about a fire at an apartment complex at 4:45 a.m. on March 6, according to the department’s statement on Facebook.

Dison, a 24-year-old Rogersville police officer, was finishing an overnight shift when he heard the call come in over the radio reporting the fire, with a 3-year-old child possibly trapped, he told WAAY.

“I gotta save this child at all costs,” Dison told WAAY.

When Dison arrived on the scene three minutes before the firefighters, flames were shooting out of the windows and smoke was billowing out of the building, according to WAAY.

Dison forced his way inside, where he managed to find and rescue the 3-year-old boy, the Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department said in its statement.

“Officer Dison placed the child in his police car and traveled to meet the incoming ambulance,” the department wrote. “Officer Dison sustained burns to his arm and actually melted his uniform from the heat.”

The 3-year-old was transported to the North Alabama Medical Center and then flown to University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital for medical care, the fire department said.

“His breathing was very shallow, he was very lethargic,” Dison told WAAY, remembering how he found the child. “He was groaning, he wasn’t really responding.”

According to WAAY, the child is expected to make a full recovery.

[RELATED: 10 things cops need to know about fire]

When the firefighters arrived on the scene, they helped another resident out of the apartment and got the fire under control in 10 minutes, according to the department’s statement.

The fire wasn’t an accident, according to police. A 44-year-old father is charged with seven counts of first-degree arson, Rogersville Police Department Chief Brian Hudson told WAFF.

The man told authorities that he set the fire and left his son inside, WAFF reported. His bond is set as $420,000.

Community members flocked to the Rogersville Fire Department Facebook page to thank Dison and the firefighters for their actions.

“Praying for the child and officer Dison. Y’all do an amazing job and we are blessed to have such a dedicated group!” one person commented.

“Oh my word! I’m so glad Tyler got there in time and wasn’t hurt worse,” another person said.

The 3-year-old boy’s mother spoke up on Facebook and thanked Dison for his quick thinking.

“I don’t even know where to start to thank Officer Dison for being my baby boy’s hero,” she wrote. “I am beyond thankful for what you did this morning to save him.”

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