Highlands County Sheriff’s Office sergeant saves elderly man from burning home

SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) – A Highlands County Sheriff’s Office sergeant was awakened by someone pounding on his door before 6 a.m. on Dec. 29

A newspaper carrier told him a home just a few doors down from his was on fire.

Sgt. Jeff Fennell rushed to the home and learned an 82-year-old man was still inside.

Sgt. Fennell went into the home, which already had flames shooting through the roof.

He yelled to the man and crawled towards his voice.

The 82-year-old had been trying to leave the home, but his electric mobility scooter was caught on something.

Sgt. Fennell got the scooter unstuck and drug it to the front door.

He said the rescue probably only took a few minutes, but felt much longer.

Firefighters said it looked like the blaze started as an electrical fire in an unoccupied bedroom.

No one was injured in the fire, which took more than two hours to put out.

“Part of being a first responder is the willingness to put yourself at risk on the job,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said.

“Sgt. Fennell was not officially on duty when he found out about the fire, but he did his duty without second thought. He is a true hero who didn’t hesitate to put his life on the line to save a neighbor.”