GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Gallatin police officer is being hailed a hero after he helped get two people to safety during a raging house fire.
The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. Monday on Highway 109 in the LaGuardo section of Wilson County. Around the same time, Gallatin Police Officer William Beaman was driving to work.
“For me, it was just a normal day, I was just driving to work,” Beaman said.
Not only is Beaman a police officer, but his father is the fire chief of the Gallatin Fire Department. “I come from a fire-fighting family so I knew that something wasn’t right. I kind of put myself in his shoes, like what would my dad do in this situation.”
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The cop turned on his lights and sirens and drove into the driveway. There was no activity outside the house, so he immediately went to the front door. When he got no response, he entered, announcing himself as a Gallatin police officer.
Beaman said the garage was attached and completely engulfed, and smoke was beginning to fill the living room. “I started to inhale some smoke.”
When he encountered the woman who lived there Beaman said she was unaware that her home was on fire. “I said, ‘Ma’am, your house is on fire’ and she said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Your house is on fire. We gotta get you outside right now.'”
The young officer then asked the woman where her husband was. “She told me the last place she had seen her husband was the garage. At that time looking at the garage, it was covered in flames and smoke and I had this terrible gut feeling that this man may have passed away as a result of this fire.”
Unknown to the officer at the time, the man was outside the home looking for his wife. He called 911 to report the house fire.
MAN: “My house is on fire.”
911: “Is everybody out of the house?”
MAN: “I don’t know, I can’t find my wife.”
Beaman said they found him toward the right side of the house. The officer’s body cam captured the moment the couple reunited.
Once sure that nobody else was in the house, the 22-year-old officer ushered everyone to safety while they waited on the fire department to arrive.
A few days later, Beaman reflected on the fire and the reason he was where he was at that moment in time.
“It is one of the best feelings in the world honestly. I hate it for the family, they were a sweet couple. They were super grateful to me, that hug that I got at the end was the only thing I really needed. I’m just grateful that God placed me there that day to allow me to do my job.”
In the end, the house is a complete loss, but there was no loss of life to people or pets. Fire officials told News 2, the fire began in the garage where the man liked to tinker with engines.
While the fire is still under investigation, investigators said the blaze is not considered suspicious.
The Gallatin Police Department said the young officer will receive a commendation for his heroic actions.