DMPD trio awarded for entering burning house to save trapped residents

From left, Sgt. Chase Wilson, Officer Josh Gauger, Officer Anthony Southern and Chief Ray Raney. Photo by Chris Cornwall

A house fire back in February may have claimed the lives of several individuals if it were not for the bravery of three Danville police officers. Chief of Police Ray Raney presented Sergeant Chase Wilson and Officers Josh Gauger and Anthony Southern with the Life-Saving Award at the May 21st Danville Metropolitan Police Commission Board meeting.

At 1:43 a.m. on Feb. 24, Hendricks County Communications Center dispatchers advised officers that the Danville Fire Department was en route to the 300 block of S. Tennessee Street for a working house fire, with children, adults, and pets still inside.

According to Danville police, Sergeant Wilson, Officer Gauger and Officer Southern arrived on scene within a minute and found smoke and flames showing from the home. They could hear people yelling from inside for help and quickly jumped into action. The officers entered the residence through a rear door and guided three adults and a 2-year-old child out of the home to safety.

Soon after, the officers noticed three teenagers and another adult on a rear rooftop of the home. The four had escaped out an upstairs window because fire and smoke were blocking the stairway to the lower level inside. The three officers assisted all four to the ground by allowing them to jump into their arms.

Once the Danville Fire Department arrived, the fire had quickly grown with flames shooting out the windows.

“We can only imagine what the outcome might have been had these officers not responded so quickly,” said Officer Nate Lien, DMPD communications head. “Their actions undoubtedly saved lives and we are proud of their bravery.”