Trooper lauded for removing sisters from burning home

Trooper Dustin Spangler was passing by at the right time to help 2-year-old Keira Martin and her 4-year-old sister JaeLynn

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

MILTON, Pa. — Thanks to the quick actions of Milton State Trooper Dustin Spangler, 2-year-old Keira Martin and her 4-year-old sister JaeLynn can now tell the story of the trooper's heroic actions that saved their lives by getting the children out of a house that was catching on fire.

Trooper Dustin Spangler, who graduated from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in 2016, was out on patrol on June 17 when he was driving west on Route 45.

"It was a normal day for me and I was out and about," he said Tuesday after receiving a plaque from the Martin sisters' great-grandparents, Jim and Cherry Hans.

While Spangler was driving on Route 45, he was flagged down by Danni Bolinsky. Bolinsky was standing on Route 45 waiting for help because she noticed a garage at 1515 West Market St. on fire as well as spotting fire extending into two houses adjacent to the garage, causing flames to begin at 1523 West Market St.

"My husband is a firefighter and he always told me what kind of smoke to look out for," she said. "I saw the smoke and I began to video record it and send it to him but also at the same time saw the state trooper."

Bolinsky flagged down Spangler. The trooper approached the house and at first, only noticed a little smoke, he said.

"I walked back to get an extinguisher but when I turned around to look, I saw flames," he said. The trooper then went to the door of 1523 and knocked to see if anyone was home.

"I knocked and waited for what felt like 10-minutes but it was only a few seconds before I checked the doorknob and saw it was open," he said.

Spangler immediately opened the door and spotted Keira and JaeLynn.

"I yelled to get everyone out of the home and was able to locate everyone inside and get them out," he said.

As firefighters rushed to the scene, Route 45 was closed off and all parties in each of the homes were able to get outside before anyone got trapped, Bolinsky said.

According to William Cameron Engine Company Fire Chief James Blount, crews arrived to find a simultaneous fire attack was initiated on both structures and the fire was contained to the two houses.

Blount said the blaze was under control one hour after crews arrived on scene.

"We are so blessed Trooper Spangler was in the area on that day," Jim Hans said. "We owe so much to him for making sure everyone was safe."

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"He (Spangler) was in the right place at the right time and we are so lucky," Cherry Hand said.

Keira and JaeLynn were thrilled to meet Spangler and they got to wear plastic state trooper hats while at the Milton barracks.

"I am just glad everyone got out safely," Spangler said. "I stayed around to make sure things were all OK and then I got another call and had to leave. So today is really the first time I got to meet everyone again and I am very honored to get this plaque. I thank them all."

Pennsylvania State Police spokesman and Milton trooper Mark Reasner said the state police were proud of Spangler.

"The Pennsylvania State Police Call of Honor directs troopers to be of service to anyone who may be in danger or distress," he said. "Trooper Spangler’s selfless actions exemplify our department’s core values. We are fortunate to have men and women the caliber of Trooper Spangler at the Milton station.

©2020 The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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