ENCORE: Waukee Police Officers Say Fire Rescue Was 'Business as Usual' Tuesday
Bill Daggett and Derrick Spoerry say they were just doing their jobs when they rescued Tracy Petty from a home fire Tuesday morning.
What Waukee Police Officers Bill Daggett and Derrick Spoerry did Tuesday could be considered, by some, heroic. To the two officers, it was all in a day's work.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, Daggett and Spoerry, en route to a report of a juvenile doing property damage, took a detour when dispatchers told them of a house fire at the corner of Eighth Street and Cherry Avenue.
Upon arrival, the officers found glass blown out of the windows, siding in the yard and a once sturdy-looking dwelling blown off its foundation.
"There was smoke coming out of the basement and the roof and there were people standing around, a lot of them had just come out to find out what happened," Daggett said.
Someone in the crowd told police there was an elderly woman in the home. She was physically disabled, they said.
"We heard there was someone in the house so we went to the door and dispatch already had her on the phone," he said.
Tracy Petty, the home's occupant, was not able to get out on her own so Spoerry took matters into his own hands and with the fire department still minutes away, went in after her.
"Derrick kicked open the door and we were met with smoke," Daggett recounted. "He called out 'Waukee Police' and she answered very faint so we didn’t know where she was at. There was a four-foot gap down to the basement we had to get over. Derrick made it to her on the couch but then we couldn't figure out how we were going to carry her out. He just picked her up and made sure the three of us got out of the house before it burst into flames."
Petty made it out unharmed and refused medical treatment at the scene. Her biggest worry, said Spoerry, was her Scottish terrier, Maddie, who was still in the house.
"She was shaken up still and extremely worried about the dog," said Spoerry. "There was no way we would make it back into the house to get her. We were lucky to get out the first time."
The dog was rescued by Waukee firefighters. She was also unharmed.
Daggett, a 14-year veteran of the police department, said while officers are taught to "protect and serve," running into a burning building isn't usually usually part of the job.
Spoerry, who's been with Waukee Police less than three months, said instinct kicked in before he broke down the door to get access to Petty.
"I was just thinking, 'What are you doing? You're not trained to run into a burning building'," he said. "It was a roller coaster ride. You get a little bit of everything going through your mind."
Waukee Police Chief Larry Phillips says he's proud of Daggett and Spoerry for their efforts, though the two officers disagree. They say it was just business as usual.
"It feels extremely good knowing she’s alive," sad Spoerry. "But that's our job. We would do it again in a heartbeat."