K-9 Deputy First Class Marcus Dawson responded to the home in the west section of Palm Coast after a neighbor reported that a fire appeared to have broken out in the kitchen, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said. The neighbor told Dawson that he hadn’t seen the three people who lived there that day.
Dawson checked the home from the outside and saw that a fire on the stove was spreading to the kitchen cabinets, the sheriff’s office said. Dawson yelled commands into the home but didn’t get a response. He saw dogs barking at the rear screen door as black smoke filled the home.
Dawson saw a bathroom light on at the front of the home and called out again, but received no response. The deputy then returned to the back of the house and entered through the unlocked screened patio and saw movement inside.
The sheriff’s office released the footage from Dawson’s body-worn camera, showing Dawson enter the home filled with smoke. He locates a child in the back bedroom and carries him to safety. First responders checked out the toddler at the scene and cleared him.
“Without DFC Dawson immediately running toward danger, even without a safety respirator, this could have been a much different outcome,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This child was hiding in fear of the fire and smoke watching a cartoon on his phone when, thankfully, DFC Dawson’s training in emergency response allowed him to find this child and safely rescue him.”
The sheriff’s office met with the boy’s father and determined that he had gone to pick up dinner and left the sleeping child home with an older sibling.
Deputies said that all three residents of the home were safe and uninjured.
“This was a dangerous situation and we are very proud of DFC Dawson’s bravery and commitment to serving this community and saving a life,” Staly said.
Authorities believe the fire was accidental and may have been cooking-related.