.By Steve Nash
Two Brownwood patrolmen were commended before the Brownwood City Council Tuesday for entering a burning, smoke-filled home and getting a man who’d been sleeping to safety.
Sgt. Tracey Delgado wrote a letter of commendation for officers Dustin Bode and Trey Weathermon, who entered the home at 1208 Vincent the night of May 29 after smelling smoke while patrolling and searching for its origin.
The officers’ “quick and courageous actions” undoubtedly saved the man’s life, Delgado’s letter stated.
Bode and Weathermon were asked to step to the front of the council chambers, and Assistant Police Chief Garry Page read the letter of commendation.
Bode and Weathermon are assigned to Delgado’s shift. “I couldn’t be more honored to have both of them working on that shift,” Delgado told council members. “I don’t guess you can go any further than to save someone’s life.”
Delgado’s letter, dated June 7, praised the officers’ “outstanding performance and acts of bravery” at the fire.
Bode and Weathermon were discussing a call they had just finished when they smelled smoke at 11:15 p.m., Delgado said. They could see smoke in the area and began driving in their individual patrol cars to look for the origin.
“They reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the roof of the house (at 1208 Vincent) and could see the glow of flames from the rear of the home,” Delgado’s letter stated. They saw two vehicles in the driveway and believed the home was occupied.
“In a true demonstration of bravery and selflessness, the officers located an unlocked door and entered the blazing home,” the letter stated.
The officers found a 42-year-old man, Jose Mares, in a deep sleep in a first-floor bedroom. Weathermon had to shake Mares and yell in English and Spanish to get him to respond, and Bode checked the remainder of the first floor for any other occupants, the letter stated.
After the officers got him outside, the home became engulfed in flames and the roof began collapsing before the fire department arrived.
“These officers’ courage, professionalism, and service reflect admirably upon the Brownwood Police Department and the City of Brownwood,” Delgado’s letter stated. “Officer Bode and Officer Weathermon should be honored for their bravery, valor, and commitment to the citizens they serve.”
Mayor Bert Massey congratulated the officers, who received a standing ovation in the council chambers.
Mares could not be located for comment.
Brownwood Fire Chief Del Albright said the cause of the fire was electrical.
Albright said he “absolutely” concurs with the officers’ commendations, saying the officers probably either saved the man’s life or kept him from having a permanent disability.
“It’s a good thing they were there,” Albright said. “They went in and did what was needed. We’re very grateful the PD was able to get inside and pull him out. His chances of survival were greatly increased, and they probably did save his life by pulling him out before our arrival. They did a courageous thing.”
He said firefighters would have done the same thing when they arrived — but there was no telling what the man’s condition would have been.
The man’s deep sleep was an indication that he was already under the influence of the smoke, Albright said. He said people might think smoke would wake up a person, but it has the opposite effect.
Delgado said Weathermon has been a Brownwood patrolman for about two years, and Bode has been on duty for about three years. She said she will nominate the officers for a state award and will ask that they be recognized at the Brownwood Municipal Police Association’s awards banquet.