Deputies credited with saving man from burning home in Rowan County

The report states that deputies found that the men were working on the house using a paint sprayer and paint thinner.
Three deputies with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office are credited with saving a man who was inside a burning mobile home.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 9:26 AM EST
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Three deputies with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office are credited with saving a man who was inside a burning mobile home.

According to the report, deputies Sgt. Patrick Schmeltzer, William Johnson, and Hannah Hodges were on patrol on Monday night just before 11:30 p.m. when they went to check on a property located on Windswept Way in Rockwell. The department had been asked to make routine checks on the property that included a vacant mobile home.

As the deputies pulled up they were approached by three men who were yelling that the mobile home was on fire and that another man was still inside. The deputies then saw flames and black smoke through the front door.

Investigators say a crew was working to renovate the vacant mobile home and that the stairs to the front door and the side door were gone. Sgt. Schmeltzer jumped into the home through the front door. In his report, he noted that the fire inside was in a trash pile and a bucket, and was covering a part of the floor going up a wall.

Schmeltzer looked for the man and called out for him. Deputy Johnson came to the side door and also looked for the man. At one point Schmeltzer became overcome by breathing smoke. He went back to the front door to catch his breath and then kept looking for the man.

One of the other men who had approached the deputies tried to get back inside the house to look for his friend, but the deputies pushed him back outside.

Deputy Hodges was able to get fire extinguishers from the patrol cars. The man was located still inside and was pulled out through the side door, according to the report. Deputies then used the fire extinguishers to put out most of the fire.

Minutes later firefighters and Rowan EMS arrived. The man who was inside the house was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The report states that deputies found that the men were working on the house using a paint sprayer and paint thinner. The men said that a spark had ignited the paint thinner.