JAMESTOWN – A Jamestown Police Officer who was alerted Monday morning to a possible structure fire, then came across the fully engulfed house, has been praised for his efforts after removing a child and then grabbing two occupants when they were jumped to safety.
The dramatic incident was captured by Officer Mark Conklin’s body camera.
The fire at 116 1/2 William St. was reported to the County Dispatch by Conklin at 12:16 am According to Jamestown Police Chief Timothy Jackson, the officer was on a call for duty on Baker Street when ‘he was informed of the possible fire on the road.
In the 20-minute body camera video posted to Facebook by JPD, Conklin is seen running to the property with strong flames bursting from the porch. He then briefly enters a side door where he lifts a child up and takes them outside to safety.
Conklin walks back to the side of the property and yells at at least two occupants still inside: “Jump, jump, I got you. I got you!” The video ends with the first person hugging him.
The police chief said the officer’s actions were nothing short of heroic.
“I can say that I have seen many examples of heroism over the years by officers”, Jackson said.
“After watching the video of this incident and speaking to others involved, I can say that Officer Conklin’s actions were, to say the least, one of the most remarkable examples of bravery, heroism and exemplary service I have seen. “
He added: “We, the Jamestown Police Department, are honored to have officers like Mark Conklin working in the Jamestown Police Department. “
Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Coon said it took two hours to bring the blaze under control and two more hours to put it out completely. In total, the firefighters remained on site until around 6 a.m. The firefighters were assisted by Chautauqua County EMS, Busti Fire Department, Falconer Fire Department which remained on standby, Jamestown Public Service Board, Town Development Department and National Fuel.
The six family members, including two adults and four children, were taken by Jamestown and Busti ambulances to UPMC Chautauqua for smoke inhalation treatment and then released. The six are currently assisted by the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
The two-story house, located behind 116 William Street was destroyed in the fire and was demolished Monday morning. The cause of the fire is undetermined and is still under investigation.
Coon also acknowledged the efforts of Conklin, a two-year member of the Jamestown Police Department. “I am extremely grateful for the heroic efforts of this patrol officer”, he said. “Without his actions, this could have had a tragic outcome.”
Coon noted that there was no working smoke detector inside the residence. He said homeowners in need of a free smoke detector can contact the department’s fire prevention office at 483-7597.
Last year, the fire department partnered with the Chautauqua Safety Village to distribute free alarms.
Meanwhile, a Gofundme (https://gofund.me/81b811f7) has been established to help the family displaced by the fire. “The donations will be used to cover future housing, living expenses and the replacement of their belongings to start their lives again”, said the fundraiser.
By early afternoon, over $ 1,200 had been raised.