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Body-cam video shows Athens officers pulling woman from burning home

By Joe Johnson

Three Athens-Clarke County police officers have been commended by their department for recently quickly extinguishing a fire and pulling out a handicapped resident from her smoke-filled home.

The incident happened the night of May 28 at a home on Indiana Avenue off Lexington Road.

"Female is on the floor. She fell out of a wheelchair and her home is definitely on fire," the dispatcher could be heard in body-worn video camera footage that was posted this week to the ACCPD’s Facebook page.

Police said that Sgt. Jody Thompson, Officer First Class Hovie Lister, and Officer Nicholas responded to the scene of the fire that was reported at about 1:45 a.m. Upon arrival at the scene they saw flames coming from the kitchen area.

Thompson used his vehicle’s fire extinguisher to knock down the flames and Elswick tried to gain entry from a pair of sliding glass doors in the back. When that didn’t work, he ran back to the front door.

The officers were able to finally open the door and drag the woman from the smoke-filled home.

The fire broke out in the kitchen while the resident was cooking, according to an Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department report.

She was checked out by National EMS personnel, but required no medical treatment, the fire report noted.

All three police officers were praised in the post to the ACCPD’s Facebook page: “The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is proud of our officers. Thank you to Sergeant Thompson, Officer First Class Lister, and Officer Elswick, for your quick response to this structure fire that led to helping a resident to safety. Committed, Compassionate, and Courageous.”

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