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Volusia County Sheriff's Sergeant Mike Odgers and Deputy Bryon Poteralski were just doing their jobs and had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time.
But to just about anyone, the two deputies who risked their lives to save a baby from a burning house in Deltona are genuine heroes.
On May 7, Sheriff Ben Johnson bestowed the agency's second highest honor, the Medal of Valor, upon Sgt. Odgers and Deputy Poteralski in recognition of their quick and brave actions that saved the life of a 1-year-old girl.
It was the morning of March 12, and the house on Bath Street was engulfed in smoke and flames. Sheriff Johnson noted that another couple of minutes without intervention and the child almost certainly would have perished.
Deputies Odgers and Poteralski were among the first to arrive at the scene of the fire. They were initially told all of the occupants were out of the house.
But suddenly, the family realized their 1-year-old niece was still inside. Without a moment to spare, Sgt. Odgers rushed through a rear door, but was forced to retreat after being overcome by extreme heat and heavy smoke. That's when Deputy Poteralski broke out a bedroom window, climbed in, felt his way around the smoke-filled room and found the baby's crib with the child inside.
He scooped up the seemingly lifeless baby and shielded her from the smoke while passing her out the window to Sgt. Odgers. Covered in soot and mucus, the motionless baby was rushed to awaiting paramedics for medical treatment for smoke inhalation and minor burns. She has since recovered.
Sheriff Johnson capped off the ceremony by thanking the deputies for a job well done, chalking up their actions to a combination of bravery, humility and good training.
"Thank you very much," Sheriff Johnson told the two deputies. "Thanks from the bottom of all of our hearts."