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Pa. police officer/EMT rescues woman from house fire

Veteran Somerset Officer/EMT Kevin Huzsek broke a window and crawled into a bedroom to rescue the resident, a woman in her 80s

By David Hurst
The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

SOMERSET, Pa. — A Somerset police officer saved a woman from her burning basement Tuesday afternoon as flames spread through the home, responders said.

With the fire already blocking access through a rear door, Somerset police Officer Kevin Huzsek broke a window and crawled into a bedroom to rescue the resident, a woman in her 80s, Somerset police Sgt. Stephen Borosky said.

“If it weren’t for him getting there as promptly as he did — and his decisive actions at the scene — I don’t think we would have been able to get to her in time,” said Borosky, who said the fire filled the basement within a span of a few minutes.

Borosky and Somerset police Officer Eric Grus arrived moments after Huzsek.

Borosky said Huzsek lifted the woman to them — and to safety — through the rear window.

Due to the swelling heat and smoky conditions, the exhausted officer had to be pulled from the window by Borosky and Grus.

An adult male and three children — one of them an infant — already escaped the fire with their pet dog before crews arrived.

Borosky said the family alerted police of the trapped woman’s location inside the house.

Once she was safely outside the house, Grus attended to her before medics arrived and took over, Borosky said.

She was conscious and following commands afterward, but the extent of her injuries was not known Wednesday because she was flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh medical center for treatment, he said.

Huzsek was treated for smoke inhalation and cuts sustained during the rescue, Borosky said.

He and Huzsek were both examined at UPMC Somerset for smoke inhalation before being released Tuesday evening, Borosky said.

Huzsek is a veteran police officer and EMT who worked at West Hills Regional before joining the Somerset Police Department more than a decade ago.

Borosky said he was impressed but not surprised by his colleague’s actions.

“His first words after we got him out were, ‘How is she?’” Borosky said. “That’s just how Kevin is — never concerned about himself. Doing everything for the right reasons.”

The incident was initially dispatched as a medical emergency just before 1:30 p.m. before being updated as a fire with entrapment, which led Somerset Area Ambulance and nearby borough police to arrive first on scene, responders said.

Borosky said flames weren’t visible outside the home when the rescue got underway — but the basement was “fully involved.”

Somerset Volunteer Fire Department Public Information Officer Dave Sube also credited Huzsek for his selfless, “courageous actions.”

He noted other first responders, including Somerset County Sheriff Dustin Weir and two deputies, also assisted at the scene.

While one Somerset fire crew attacked the blaze from the front of the home, Weir and Borosky used a handline hose to suppress the fire from the rear of the structure until additional firefighters arrived.

Sube said the home suffered severe damage.

Listie, Friedens, Sipesville, Rockwood, Berlin and Meyersdale fire departments were dispatched to assist Somerset with the fire, Somerset County 911 officials said.

Somerset and Berlin EMS units were also called to the scene.

A state police fire marshal based in Westmoreland County was assisting firefighters in determining what caused the fire, Sube and Borosky said.

The incident remained under investigation Wednesday.


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