POSTED: Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 4:09pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 4:52pm
Jacksonville, Texas (KEKT) — In recognition of their actions during a June house fire, officers James Lozano and Christopher Bell of the Jacksonville Police Department received special commendations this week from their department.
Wednesday morning, in the JPD training room, Lozano were awarded the Police Medal of Valor, while Bell will receive the Police Lifesaving Medal.
Lozano and Bell were among a group of JPD officers who responded to a house fire at the corner of Rusk and Waters streets on June 15, 2013. Upon arrival, the front of the house was already engulfed in flames, but bystanders notified the officers that people were still inside the building.
After preventing one of the home’s residents from re-entering the building, Lozano entered the burning structure himself, with Bell in close pursuit. Crawling through thick smoke and intense blame, Lozano reached the back of the house, where he located two individuals still asleep in their beds. Upon finding his path blocked by fire, Bell was forced to temporarily retreat from the building, but he returned to the burning structure a second time and eventually met up with Lozano and the two victims.
The growing fire had blocked their exit route, so the two officers broke out a bedroom window and pushed the two residents through the window to safety. Thanks to the officers’ heroic actions, no injuries were suffered as a result of the fire.
“There is no doubt that their courage, quick actions and total disregard for their own safety contributed to saving these two individuals from perishing in the fire,” said JPD Police Chief Reece Daniel. “Placing themselves in grave danger to save the lives of others, the actions of officers Lozano and Bell are in keeping with the best traditions of the police service, and they have brought great credit to our department.”
The Police Medal of Valor is the highest award a police department can bestow, and the Police Lifesaving Medal is the second highest. This is the first time the City of Jacksonville has presented either of these two awards.