By Jay Meisel
PORT ST. LUCIE - Three Port St Lucie police officers were nominated last week to receive special awards after saving the life of a 14-year-old boy hooked to oxygen and trapped in a burning house.
Acting Port St. Lucie Police Sgt. Brian Kenny wrote in a report that Officers Matthew Bianco, Suzzanie Moore and Jason Chapman each receive a life-saving award for their rescue of Elijah Harvey on July 6.
The officers arrived at the scene of the burning house before St. Lucie County firefighters.
When they arrived at 230 S.W. Bridgeport Drive, they saw a "frantic adult male, later identified as the homeowner, attempting to put the fire out using a garden hose," Sgt. Kenny said in the report.
The man, Miles Harvey Jr., told officers that his 14-year-old son was still inside the house, he said.
"Being that the fire department was not yet on scene and one room of the house was fully engulfed in flames, the officers acted quickly," Sgt. Kenny said.
They entered the residence and "were met by heavy black smoke as they searched for the son," Sgt. Kenny added. "The officers could not have been prepared for what they were about to find. They located the son asleep in his bed and observed him to be hooked up to an oxygen machine.
"It was only then that the father explained that his son is special needs and cannot walk on his own and that he could not be unhooked from his oxygen," Sgt. Kenny wrote in the report.
Since the fire department had yet to arrive, Officer Chapman used a fire extinguisher to combat the blaze, while Officer Moore stayed with Elijah.
When rescue personnel arrived, Officer Bianco guided rescue personnel to the 14 year old, Sgt. Kenny said.
They did that, despite knowing the presence of oxygen, which is highly flammable, increased the danger, Sgt. Benny said.
But officers and rescue personnel safely removed the teen from the house, Sgt. Kenny said.
A wiring problem within an air conditioner caused the fire, a police report said.