“You just act.”
07/15/2015 – When K-9 Officer Brandon Jarrett saw a 10-month-old baby crawling to him from inside a burning home Saturday, he had just one thought: Get her some air.
Jarrett, 32, responded after a fire broke out in the kitchen of a home in the 2100 block of North Xanthus Avenue, where Tulsa police were planning to make an arrest. Shortly before that, police had responded to an assault call about 3 miles away on East Independence Street.
A woman had received three puncture wounds from a small knife. Officers learned that the suspect, later identified as Montrenique Morris, 24, lived in the neighborhood on Xanthus.
About 3 p.m., Jarrett was on standby a few blocks from the home when three boys and a girl flagged him down, telling him the roof of a house was on fire.
Jarrett had eyes on the area and could see the driveway but not the home itself. He drove down and saw smoke billowing from the vents.
His K-9, Cado, stayed in the patrol car while Jarrett ran up to the home. He radioed dispatch to call the Fire Department and, in the meantime, went to the front door.
The knob was hot, the window blinds were melting and it looked like there was a fire inside. Jarrett knocked on the door, identifying himself, but couldn’t hear anything other than a smoke detector going off.
He banged on the door harder — and then could hear the faint cries of a small child.
“I just started kicking at the door,” he said.
Jarrett gave it three or four hard kicks until the door finally came open.
“I couldn’t see hardly a foot in front of me. I just got on my hands and knees and started crawling into the residence,” Jarrett said.
That’s when Jarrett could see a small hand reaching in his direction. He scooped up the baby girl and got her to safety outside.
By that time, other officers had arrived, including Officer Peter Maher and the girl’s mother — Morris — who, unbeknownst to Jarrett, was the suspect police were there to arrest.
Morris told officers that another family member might be inside. Jarrett went in again, this time with Maher at his side.
“That fire was growing,” Jarrett said. “I couldn’t see the flames — I just knew it was hot. I couldn’t see much, couldn’t breathe at all.”
The two searched but couldn’t find anybody. They came back outside, ready to breach a window to gain entry a different way but found out that the woman they were looking for was outside, safe.
Firefighters arrived and quickly extinguished the flames.
“They did what they do best,” Jarrett said.
Officers placed Morris into custody, and Jarrett went to check on the baby.
A firefighter was holding her — she was wheezing a little bit, with black soot around her nose and mouth — but appeared alert. EMSA transported her to a hospital to be on the safe side.
Jarrett declined medical treatment.
“It literally felt like somebody was standing on my chest, preventing me from breathing,” he said.
An arrest report states that Morris had put grease on the stove to fry some chicken, left the child in the home unattended and went to make a phone call at a neighbor’s residence.
Jarrett, a fourth-generation Tulsa police officer, said he didn’t do anything that any of his fellow officers, firefighters or other emergency personnel wouldn’t do.
“You just act. I don’t know what to say — you just go,” he said. “It’s like with everything we do.”
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said a report on the actions of Jarrett and Maher has been filed with the department’s awards committee.
“I never cease to be amazed by the bravery and dedication of our police officers,” Jordan said, adding that if it were not for Jarrett’s bravery, the child likely would not have survived.
It’s not natural for a person to go into a burning building, which speaks to the character and state of mind of each man, Jordan said.
Jarrett said he didn’t think before heading into the home.
“I was so focused on that baby crying and screaming and getting her out, more than anything else,” he said.
Morris was booked into the Tulsa Jail on complaints of child neglect, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, possession of marijuana in the presence of a minor and warrants. She has a court date scheduled for Friday.
Jarrett graduated from the police academy in 2008. His great-grandfather, grandfather and father all served with the Tulsa Police Department.
Link to original article can be found here.