By Anya TikkaMATAMORAS — When police officers Daniel Park and Harry Prey of the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department heard over the responder there was a fire, they rushed to the scene.
By the time they got there, the house at 104 Avenue O in Matamoras had smoke pouring from all the windows, Prey explained in a phone call. The officers got in, and managed to rescue an elderly couple, Troy Nystrand and Marla Halt, both disabled and in need of help to escape the fire.
“We happened to be on duty that night,” Park said, “and got there before the fire department.”
Inside the single-story house, sitting in the main living area, Marla was trying to get Troy to get out. But possibly due to smoke inhalation, Troy was not willing to leave, Prey continued.
Marla, who was physically disabled, had to be helped herself to leave, and she wouldn’t leave the hallway with Troy still inside.
Eventually, between the two officers, they were able to bring the couple out, with Prey carrying Marla on his back.
“She had no shoes on, and it was sub-zero temperatures out that night, very cold," Prey said. "We placed both him and her in the back of the patrol car parked at the end of the driveway to keep them out of the elements."
Matamoras and Westfall fire departments arrived soon and put down the fire. But without Officers Prey and Parks, “There would have been fatalities if we didn’t get there in time,” Parks explained.
The fire happened between 9 and 10 p.m. on a very cold night.
“We both got checked out at the hospital,” Parks said. “The ambulance crew took us. We both had smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide, but nothing major. We didn’t require treatment."
Prey said both fire departments did an excellent job stopping the fire, and it’s already in the process of being gutted in order to be refurbished.
“We would like to thank the Chiefs and the Police Commission for everything they do here,” Prey concluded.
The officers were honored with an accommodation bar and a certificate by the police chief.