Off-duty Phoenix police officer helps save mother and child during apartment fire

Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 20:44:20-04

The call to duty came in a different form for Phoenix Police Lt. Jeffrey Fields on Saturday. 

He was in the area of 47th Street and McDowell when a fire broke out at a nearby apartment complex. He rushed over when he saw the smoke.

"I saw the back portion of the apartment complex fully engulfed, so I ran around the front part," Fields said. "I saw several citizens and tenants, and they were already helping evacuate the actual apartment complex."

The fire was spreading to a unit next door, where a woman and her one-month-old baby were inside sleeping.

Lt. Fields and a man passing by knocked on her door but did not receive a response. So they kicked in the door.

"I didn't know what I was facing inside, but somebody said there was somebody inside. We're not going to let the individual perish," Fields said. 

Inside, they crawled through smoke and guided the woman and her baby out.

Meanwhile, neighbors jumped in, grabbing fire extinguishers and knocking on as many doors as they could.

"Swift action saved a lot of people over here. A little damage is nothing. That can all be replaced. As long as nobody got hurt, I'm so thankful," said Jennifer McBride, who helped evacuate neighbors. 

She's thankful even though she's one of 17 people who are without a home. Four units were damaged by the fire. But she knows what was saved is so much more valuable.

"That was a blazing fire, and it could've traveled very quickly. That nobody even got hurt is amazing. I call it divine intervention," Fields said.

Lt. Fields won't take "hero" for a title. Instead, he says he's proud of what he saw happen--the community response, from the passerby who helped him rescue the mom and baby to the neighbors who jumped in, and of course, the first responders.

"It was just a phenomenal feeling that he was willing to risk his life," Fields said.


Phoenix firefighters say the cause of the fire is still being investigated.