A nine-year-old is recovering thanks to the deputies who saved his life in Seffner, Florida, on Friday, and citizens are praising his rescuers.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue got a call late Thursday about a fire and a child, named Owen Ares, who was trapped inside the building, Fox 13 reported.
Three people were at home when the blaze began: Owen, his mother, Karen McGinnis, and her boyfriend who had fallen asleep but awoke to the danger.
The man helped the mother escape but because of the location of the boy’s room and the flames, they could not get to him.
Deputies at the scene broke a window trying to reach the child, and body camera video from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office showed the scene unfold.
Black smoke filled the bedroom as the first responders and family members desperately tried to make contact with the boy:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the small boy who suffered injuries in last night's house fire in Seffner, FL. We are grateful to the two Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies risked their lives to pull this young boy out of a smoke filled bedroom and through a window. You can see their heroic actions in this video!https://teamhcso.com/News/PressRelease/54f0c315-1614-4efb-8777-28b7ae00c031/22-071
Posted by Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Friday, May 20, 2022
During the rescue, the officers knew he was in the bedroom but could not pinpoint his exact location, according to Deputy Alexander Maldonado.
However, Deputies Maldonado and Kevin Reich eventually brought the child out of the burning home and carried him to a safe place nearby. He was taken to the hospital suffering from severe burns and smoke inhalation.
KEEP HIM IN YOUR THOUGHTS 🙏 Owen was pulled out of a house fire in Seffner Thursday night. It was a heroic rescue by the responding deputies but Owen has since been taken to the ICU. His family asks for prayers during this difficult time. https://t.co/Hf1cAyWY8Y | 📸: Family pic.twitter.com/BVrZfENpVX
— 10 Tampa Bay (@10TampaBay) May 20, 2022
Social media users expressed their gratitude to the officers, one person writing, “I commend both deputies for their selfless acts to save this child. Keeping the boy and family in my thoughts and prayers.”
“God was definitely with that little boy! Our first responders are amazing! Thank you for saving his life!!!” another commented.
McGinnis later spoke about the harrowing experience and said, “I just first want to really thank the heroic efforts of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for stepping in and doing what they did because had they not done what they did we’d be having a very different conversation right now.”
Officials said the blaze may be been caused by a fire pit a family member used that night, but the cause is still being investigated.
“Heroes need to be recognized like these guys were heroes,” Chris Ares, Owen’s father, declared, adding, “If it wasn’t for that, my son would be dead. It was like within minutes, he wouldn’t have made it.”