CLEARFIELD – The quick actions of local police and neighboring residents saved the life of an elderly woman.
During a press conference Wednesday, Lawrence Township Police Officer Jonathan Walker was honored for his quick thinking and selfless action during a recent structure fire.
Lawrence Township Police Chief Douglas Clark read from a letter of commendation describing what happened that night.
According to Clark, on Sept. 23, Walker was on duty when he received a report from the Clearfield County 911 Center. Dispatchers relayed that a resident of Lawrence Park Village was calling to report her room was on fire.
The call was disconnected, but Walker responded to the apartment complex. Walker retrieved a fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle and was told by bystanders that an elderly woman with medical issues also lived in the apartment.
Walker attempted to enter the apartment, but the front door was locked and made of steel. He then went around to the rear of the apartment and forced open the back door.
On two separate occasions, Walker attempted to enter the building but was forced back due to the heavy smoke. Walker then entered the living room area of the building by smashing out a window.
According to reports, Walker could hear the sounds of someone inside the building but was again forced back outside due to the smoke. Walker then borrowed a shirt from a bystander, which he wrapped around his face.
Walker was met by Clearfield Borough Sergeant Nathan Curry, who went back inside the building with Walker. However, both officers were forced back outside.
For a sixth time, Walker risked his own safety to enter the building, with Curry at his side. The officers were able to locate 74-year-old Frances Lutz, who was lying on the floor near her bed.
The officers carried Lutz to safety. Reports from the scene also indicate that residents Damion Palmer and Dakota Taylor assisted the officers.
Clark said Walker’s efforts are an example of his commitment to outstanding service to the police department and the citizens of the area.
He said Walker’s actions “reflect very favorably upon the Lawrence Township Police Department,” and it is with great pride that he is awarding Walker with a letter of commendation as a written record of his outstanding performance and dedication to duty.
Information about Lutz’s condition is unavailable.