Tempe police officer, Paul Elenlius, saves couple from burning home

A husband and wife remain hospitalized after their lives were saved when a Tempe police officer on night patrol kicked down the door of their flame-engulfed mobile home Sunday.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Tempe police officer Paul Elenlius was on patrol when he responded to the couple's call for help from inside their burning mobile home at the Meadows Mobile Home Park at 2401 W. Southern Ave.

Before Elenius arrived, neighbors of the couple had tried the windows and second door to the residence without any success, according to Tempe police.

After Elenius arrived, he ran to the back door which was engulfed in flames and blocked with a table and other storage items before kicking the door down. After removing the items in front of the door, he pushed the items out of the way and went inside where he saw the woman, 71, lying on the floor. He carried her to safety and went back inside to save her husband, police said.

In addition to Tempe, firefighters also responded from Guadalupe and Phoenix in order to assist with the incident and protect other structures in the neighborhood.

Elenius was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and the couple was taken to the hospital in serious condition, according to police.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Tempe police are not releasing the couple's names at this time.

Tempe fire officials were quick to remind residents to keep hallways, entry ways and doorways clear of furniture and other household items in the event of such emergencies.

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