Officer Credited With Aiding Residents Out Of Burning Home
A Jamestown police officer who was alerted early Monday of a possible structure fire and then came across the fully engulfed home was praised for his efforts after he removed a child then caught two occupants when they jumped to safety.
The dramatic incident was captured on the body camera of officer Mark Conklin.
The fire at 116 1/2 William St. was reported to county dispatch by Conklin at 12:16 a.m. According to Jamestown Police Chief Timothy Jackson, the officer was on a service call on Baker Street when he was notified of the possible fire up the road.
In the 1:20-minute body cam video posted to Facebook by JPD, Conklin is seen running up to the property with heavy flames shooting from the porch. He then briefly enters a side door where he lifts a child and brings them outside to safety.
Conklin returns to the side of the property and yells to at least two occupants still inside: “Jump, jump, I got you. I got you!” The video ends as the first person jumps into his arms.
The police chief said the officer’s actions were nothing short of heroic.
“I can say that I have seen many examples of heroism over the years by officers,” Jackson said.
“After watching the video of this incident and speaking to others involved, I can say that the actions of officer Conklin were, to say the least, one of the most outstanding examples of bravery, heroism, and exemplary service I have seen.”
He added: “We, the Jamestown Police Department, are honored to have officers such as Mark Conklin working in the Jamestown Police Department.”
Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Coon said it took two hours to get the fire under control and another two hours to be fully extinguished. In all, firefighters remained on scene until about 6 a.m. Firefighters were assisted by Chautauqua County EMS, the Busti Fire Department, Falconer Fire Department which remained on standby, the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, city Department of Development and National Fuel.
All six members of the family, which included two adults and four children, were taken by Jamestown and Busti ambulances to UPMC Chautauqua for treatment of smoke inhalation and later released. The six are currently being assisted by the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
The two-story home, located behind 116 William St.. was destroyed in the fire and was demolished by Monday morning. The cause of the fire is undetermined and remains under investigation.
Coon also recognized the efforts of Conklin, a two-year member of the Jamestown Police Department. “I’m extremely grateful for the heroic efforts of this patrol officer,” he said. “Without his actions, this could have had a tragic outcome.”
Coon noted that there were no working smoke detectors inside the residence. He said homeowners in need of a free smoke detector can contact the department’s Office of Fire Prevention at 483-7597.
Last year, the fire department partnered with the Chautauqua Safety Village to distribute free alarms.
Meanwhile, a Gofundme (https://gofund.me/81b811f7) has been established to help the family displaced by the blaze. “Donations will go to cover future housing, living expenses, and replacement of their belongings to start their lives over,” the fundraiser stated.
As of the early afternoon, more than $1,200 had been raised.