Officers with the Van Buren Police Department had their uniforms catch fire after pulling people from a burning apartment complex.
Emergency crews responded to an apartment fire at the Gardenwalk of Elfen Glen apartments near Highway 59 and Interstate 40 in Van Buren Tuesday night, April 23.
When the two officers arrived at the fire around 11 p.m. they started going door-to-door telling people to get out.
While knocking on doors, officers were under a staircase close to the fire of the two-story apartment. The heat from the blaze melted metal and debris started falling on them.
“Officers are not required to go into a burning building,” Sgt. Jonathan Wear with Van Buren Police said.
Wear added the hot, molten material fell on the back of one officer and burned a large hole in his uniform.
The burn went all the way down to his bulletproof vest. The other officer had the molten metal fall on his radio mic melting it.
“If it would have fallen on the officer’s neck or head, it would have gone right through the skin,” Wear said.
No one from the apartment complex was injured in the flames.
“This is a testament to how officers are willing to risk their lives for others,” Wear said. “Thankfully none of the residents or officers were injured during the fire.”
The fire is under investigation by the fire marshal.