By Adam Sacasa
The Sun Sentinel
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A lack of protective fire gear didn't stop a Palm Beach County deputy from rushing into a burning house to save three children early Friday.
The fire was reported at about 2 a.m. on the 3800 block of Chickasha Road. With Sheriff's Office deputies already patrolling the area, it wasn't long before one of them was on scene.
That's when Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said a woman who escaped the flames came up to the deputy and said, "Hey, my kids are still inside."
Hearing the crying and moaning children inside, the deputy acted quickly.
Neighbor Daniel Vivar said the deputy grabbed a trash can to break out a bedroom window and then crawled inside.
"I'm sure he had some smoke inhalation because at that time the whole house was engulfed in flames and smoke was everywhere," Vivar said. "Without his help, I'm sure it would have been a disaster."
Bradshaw said the deputy cut through the smoke, found the kids and handed them out to a sergeant waiting outside.
"It was incredible," Bradshaw said in an interview with CBS12, the Sun Sentinel's news partner. "Instinctively, [the deputy] didn't even worry about his safety. He went right into that house."
The fire department took over from there and put out the flames that were shooting out from the front and side of the house, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Captain Albert Borotto. The house was destroyed.
'There's no doubt in my mind that those kids are alive right now because of his actions," Bradshaw said.
Daniel Vivar's dad, Alfred Vivar, who lives with him, said the family has been renting the home for about a year.
Two of the children were taken to Delray Medical Center while the mother and another child were taken to St. Mary's Medical Center for treatment.
Bradshaw said the deputy was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The deputy was taken to JFK Medical Center and has since been released, according to the Sheriff's Office.
A family member told CBS12 that an electrical shortage in the bathroom started the fire and that an electrician had been called out to the home but the problem was never fixed.
Borotto said the fire was caused by an unspecified electrical malfunction.
The home, which has three bedrooms and two bathrooms has an assessed value of $46,274, according to county property records.
When asked about the name of the deputy who rushed into the burning home, Bradshaw said his name will not be released.
"He's not looking for any notoriety," Bradshaw said. "This is what they're paid to do. This is their job. They don't even think about themselves as being heroes. I do. I can tell you that."
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report,
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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