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By Terry Duffy
Call it being in the right place at the right time.
Late Tuesday evening, Lewiston Police Department Officer Jonathon Smith lived up to the billing of first responder as he was among the very first to respond to a Niagara County dispatch report of a working garage fire at a residence at 1345 Swann Road.
According to LPD and various news reports, when Smith arrived, he found a garage on the property fully engulfed and slowly spreading toward the rear of the residence that is home to two elderly residents. The husband was able to flee the residence, but the man’s wife remained inside.
“There were multiple people outside the home when I got there,” Smith said. “I immediately questioned if there were other people inside the home. … There was one inside the house.”
It was then Smith joined with a family member on scene in an attempt to rescue the woman. Smith was able to pull an elderly female resident out through a first-story window and free her from harm before fire responders arrived.
“At that point, she made her way to the living room where we were able to get a window open … and pull her out of the window. Everyone was safely removed and nobody lost their lives,” Smith said. “Everyone just came through and we took care of business.”
LPD Chief Frank Previte said the officer’s brave actions are typical of what the men and women in the law enforcement community do on daily basis in their service to the community.
“When these things happen, we’re usually the first ones there to help. So, I’m just glad my officer made the difference,” he said. “I think it’s a positive thing not only for him, but it says a lot for the department itself.”
Fire responders, including Lewiston No. 1 Fire Co., Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co., Upper Mountain Fire Co. and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station FAST response unit were on the scene soon after to extinguish the blaze.
No damage estimate was immediately available. An investigation into the cause of the fire continues.