RICHMOND, Va. -- Two Richmond Police officers are being considered for a lifesaving award following their heroic actions during a motel fire.
On January 7 around 5:30 p.m., Officers Ben Frazer and Steve Gibson were seeking a wanted individual near the Richmond Inn and came upon a fire in the back of the motel.
“I went upstairs and started beating on the doors. No one was answering the doors, so we had to manually open the doors,” Frazer recalled.
The partners used a battering ram to gain entry into some of the rooms as they rushed to warn guests of the flames.
Upstairs, Officer Frazer would become engulfed in smoke as the flames rose.
“As soon as the fire extinguisher ran out, I heard a poof, and the curtains went up. It hit the balcony area and went up and over that. Of course, he was basically right there,” Gibson explained.
Richmond Police Third Precinct Capt. Faith Flippo described the moment as smoke-covered Officer Frazer.
“All of a sudden smoke took over and he lost sight he had to hold on to a railing to walk himself out when he already got in the mix of trying to save somebody and helping people,” Flippo said.
Flippo said their efforts deserve a lifesaving award.
“They put themselves in danger to save others. Our Richmond officers do every day and in this situation, it’s nice of the two officers involved got recognized for it,” she stated.
Nearly a dozen guests were saved due to the officers' quick reactions.
Officer Frazer’s injuries required oxygen in the back of an ambulance, but the pair quickly return to duty.
“In a situation like that I don’t think it matters if you’re a police officer or firefighter or whatever - the average human being would have done the same thing we did,” he said.
These officers believed there’s a lesson to learn from a potentially devastating fire. Officer Gibson discovered some guests were worried about their belongings in their room rather than escaping the danger.
“We are not there to watch your stuff burn,” Frazer explained. “We are there to protect the people out there. Just do us a favor, listen to us, and we will get you in your room.”
No one else was injured.
Richmond Police apprehended the wanted individual on Wednesday.