JONESBORO — Six Clayton County Police officers who are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a man from a burning mobile home are up for commendations. Bodycam video of the rescue documented their selfless actions.
Chief Kevin Roberts said the officers’ commanders “are recommending them for departmental recognition and external recognition such as the Valor Awards.”
Officers Demetrius Stone, Chandi Holmes, Christian Stearley, Ryan Jackson, Shawni Fisher and Travon Porter, who work the overnight shift, risked their own lives to pull the incoherent man through a window to safety. The man was transported to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
The officers, whose experience ranges from two weeks to 24 years on the job, relied on teamwork, training and resourcefulness to save the man.
Stone was in the window. Porter, Stearley and Jackson were outside the window making a human ladder with Fisher at the base. Holmes, who had trained some of the officers in the academy and was training Porter on patrol that night, wrangled a ladder and kept everyone focused.
During a July 8 press conference, the officers recounted what happened.
When Stone arrived, “Officer Stearley and Officer Fisher were already there trying to assist,” he said. “Officer Stearley kneeled down and tried to help me up to create a human ladder, reach inside and grab the gentleman out. We were unable to pull him out that way, so after a few attempts, we couldn’t get him, Officer Holmes arrived on the scene. She is kind of like our coach and our cheerleader, so she pretty much kept the entire situation calm. She was pretty much the only voice you could hear the entire time.”
Holmes managed to turn up a ladder, which Stone, a former Savannah firefighter, put up to the window. “I climbed inside, immediately saw the gentleman, picked him up, and he was unconscious, so pretty much dead weight. I put him outside of the window, and it was Officer Jackson, Officer Stearley and Officer Porter who grabbed him and took him over to a safe location.”
Inside the mobile home, Stone said, “It was hot. It was pretty smoky so you couldn’t really see anything. Fortunately, he was right there, right by the window.” The man was underneath a mattress, Stone said, “as if he was trying to keep himself from the heat.”
Stone, who had been a firefighter for two years in Savannah, said he “wasn’t too worried” due to his training — he felt around in the dark, grabbed the man, and picked him up.
“I saw where the fire was, so I knew we had time,” he explained. “It was mostly just the smoke that I was worried about at that point.”
Holmes said she and Porter got the call while they were in Stockbridge. “It was quite a ways away,” she said. “This call was a little bit different because it was a ‘trouble unknown’ call, and we also had someone calling saying they were in distress.”
The officers have seen the video.
“It was only one or two minutes,” Stone said, “but it seemed like 30 or 40.”