Wisconsin Police Officer Praised as Hero After He Rescues 79-Year-Old Man from Burning Home

"His efforts exemplified PWPD’s commitment to human life above anything else," the Port Washington Police Department said of Officer Tony Becker

Officer Becker
Port Washington Police Officer Tony Becker. Photo: Port Washington Police Department

A Wisconsin police department is commending one of its officers after he jumped into action and saved the life of an elderly man who was trapped inside his burning home.

The Port Washington Police Department addressed the scary incident in a post on Facebook Monday, alongside a photo of Officer Tony Becker, who was involved in the rescue.

According to police, Becker was performing a routine patrol around 5:40 p.m. on Sunday when he started to hear popping and crackling noises, followed by a fireball nearby.

Through his investigation, Becker was able to determine that a home in the area was on fire.

The police officer immediately rushed to the scene, where he found a residence with its south side "fully engulfed in flames," according to the post.

"As the officer approached the home, the garage door opened and the 74-year-old female resident exited telling the officer her 79-year-old husband was still inside," the post stated.

Despite the raging flames, Becker jumped into action and entered the residence to save the elderly man. The shocking moment was captured on his body camera footage and obtained by NBC affiliate WTMJ.

"Black smoke was undulating from the garage as Officer Becker entered and made his way to a doorway leading into the residence," police wrote in their post. "The residence was filling with smoke, and the officer could feel intense heat coming from inside."

While inside, Becker was able to call out to the man and hear him respond from a stairwell inside the entryway. Becker then instructed the man to "get low to the ground and come towards his voice."

"The individual appeared to not know where the officer was," the post reads. "Seeing the need to expedite their exit, Officer Becker made entry into the home, reaching out and grabbing ahold of the resident and pulling him to the doorway."

The pair then quickly made their way out of the home through the garage and to safety, according to the post. His loved ones were waiting on a driveway nearby, as shown in the video.

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Following the rescue, police said Becker was treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and later returned to finish his shift. They did not disclose the condition of the man or woman.

WTMJ later reported that the couple is doing okay and they are now living with their adult children as they determine how much damage their home sustained.

In the wake of the incident, the Port Washington Police Department praised Becker and reminded people about the dangers of house fires.

"House fires are dangerous scenes that can quickly become deadly. Emergency personnel are sometimes presented with only moments to make efforts to rescue residents from inside," they wrote. "We are thankful Officer Becker was in the area so quickly, and despite the dangers presented, was able to affect a rescue of the resident inside."

"His efforts exemplified PWPD's commitment to human life above anything else," they added. "Thank you, Officer Becker; and thank you to all the fire and law enforcement agencies who responded to assist."

Neighbor Barbara Patterson echoed that praise while speaking to WTMJ after the incident.

"I hate to say this but if [Officer Becker] hadn't done this he would have been dead... Without a doubt," she told the outlet. "The smoke was so thick that [it] alone would have been catastrophic."

Police have not confirmed what caused the fire, but WTMJ and ABC affiliate WLS-TV reported that it appears to have been caused by a barbecue igniting nearby propane tanks.

A spokesperson for the Port Washington Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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