Plant City Police Officer Michal Pietrusinski credited God’s timing for being in the right place at the right time to save two boys from a burning house in Zephyrhills, Florida.
Pietrusinski, who was sworn in with the Plant City Police Department earlier this month under the department’s new officer sponsorship program, was taking an evening stroll with his fiancée when he noticed black smoke coming from his neighbor’s home.
“I was definitely in the right place at the right time,” the officer said at a press conference.
According to a press release from Pasco County Fire Rescue, 9-1-1 operators received a call about a house on fire on Doe Path Court with two children trapped inside the home.
The agency said that the off-duty officer did not hesitate and “immediately sprang into action” to help the distressed mother rescue her children from the fire.
When he saw the mother with only one child, the off-duty officer knew the others were still inside.
“I saw mom coming running toward the house with her third child. So automatically, I thought, where are the boys? Because I’m familiar with the family,” he said.
To make matters more complicated, both boys are autistic and non-verbal.
The officer and his fiancée entered the house with just a garden hose to combat the flames, crawling on the floor to avoid inhaling the smoke.
The office called out to the boys while crawling through the smoke and spraying water onto the couch that had caught fire.
“If you can hear me, come toward my voice,” Pietrusinski shouted.
Not hearing a response, the officer soaked a T-shirt in water and placed it over his mouth to help him breathe as he began searching the house.
Pietrusinski was able to find one of the children and bring him to safety.
With a tip from the mother about the second boy’s location, the officer made one final attempt to extricate him.
Fortunately, firefighters arrived just then to extinguish the flames and locate the missing child.
The fire crew found the boy hiding inside a smoke-filled bathroom shower with the water running.
A medical helicopter transport was requested for the boy, who was conscious and breathing after being rescued from the home. The boys were later cleared of any serious injury by medical staff.
Pietrusinski was also transported to a local hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
“Officer Pietrusinski is a Polish immigrant who served seven and a half years in the U.S. Navy and four years as a Search and Rescue swimmer,” Pasco County Fire Rescue said in a press release. “Pasco County Fire Rescue is proud of the brave actions of Officer Pietrusinski, firefighters from engine 16 and all others on the scene that day, who gave it all to save two children.”
“I’m glad that I could help, and I would do it again,” Pietrusinski told Fox 13.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.