OAKLAND, Fla. - Three Oakland, Florida police officers helped save a couple from a burning home on Tuesday. Two days later, they got to reunite with the husband and wife.
"You’re the guys that pulled us out?" Robert Apraez asked the officers. "Thank you very much!"
He and his wife, Michelle Mikkola, said they operated a cat rescue inside the house and were trying to save the kitties…but officers knew the building was about to go up in flames..
"I can’t believe how fast it spread," Mikkola said.
"We were right up to the window and that’s how we were going in," explained Lt. Angela Campbell while pointing to the charred structure.
She said she, Det. Shawn Dozier, and Officer Rene Castro jumped into save the couple.
"Officer Castro grabbed the fire extinguisher, smashed open the window, and we were able to grab her from there. She kept yelling about her cats, and we were yelling, ‘You gotta come out!’ and we had to grab them."
"It was like a tinderbox," Apraez said.
He is grateful to a stranger who first knocked on the door to alert them.
"Whoever that person was, if they’re watching, thank you very much. All we heard was someone banging, then yelling, ‘Fire, fire, fire!’"
Since Robert’s disabled, it was difficult to get around, but that’s when Det. Dozier and Lt Campbell spotted him.
"She grabbed him from behind, and we pulled him out."
Apraez added, "He just yanked me and next thing I know it was like through a tube, I went out."
The officers also rescued the couples' cat Max from the home.
"He had some burn to his fur, but he’s in an oxygen chamber and doing very well."
While the couple worries about their other cats they also realize how lucky they are to be alive.
Apraez told the officers, "Thank you for being there for us." Det. Dozier replied, "We’re glad we were able to help."
These officers said they aren’t trained to rescue people from burning buildings, but they weren’t about to leave the couple inside.
Det. Dozier said, "We’re trying to use the flashlights and hold our breath at the same time."
The humble officers are grateful to have been able to save lived.
"It’s pretty cool," Lt. Campbell said.
Det. Dozier agreed, adding"It’s a good feeling. It’s a great feeling."
Mikkola said some cats were able to escape the fire, but they are still out and about hiding in the neighborhood. She hopes to rescue them soon. Around 10 cats died in the fire.