Port Washington police officer hailed for rescuing elderly man from burning home

PORT WASHINGTON — The Port Washington Police Department is recognizing one of its officers who ran into a burning home to save an elderly man.

On Sunday September 12th, Officer Tony Becker was at the police station when he heard and saw an explosion at a home about a block away. The officer rushed to the scene, where a woman had already left her home but said her husband was inside downstairs.

Parts of the home were on fire and heavy black smoke was pouring out of the garage where Officer Becker went in to save the elderly man.

Bodycam video released by the police department shows the officer running into the smoke and calling for the man inside. “John come here, come to my voice… come up the stairs sir. Crawl, Crawl get to the floor, get to the floor, I will grab your hand” the officer can be heard saying on the video.

Moments later the man emerges from the smoke and the officer pulls him to safety.

Firefighters arrived and knocked down the flames. Neighbor Barbara Patterson was taking a nap in the condo next door when the explosion happened. Her husband ran inside and told her to get out.

She says if it weren’t for the officer, the man next door may have died.

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt. I hate to say this but if he [Officer Becker] hadn’t done this he would have been dead. The smoke was so thick that that alone would have been catastrophic,” said Patterson.

The couple who lived in the home are said to be doing ok. They are with their adult children while what happens next with the house is figured out.

Officer Tony Becker was treated for smoke inhalation at the local hospital, released, and he later returned to his shift.

It’s unclear if the home is a total loss or not. Patterson’s house suffered smoke and water damage. It appears the fire and explosions were caused by a barbecue igniting nearby propane tanks.

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