(NewsNation) —Firefighters and police officers in West Allis, Wis. knew time was of the essence as the fate of a young life was in their hands.
Police responded to the scene of a fire Sunday where they found a home engulfed with flames, billowing black smoke into the air. They then learned a 3-year-old boy named M.J. was trapped in a back room of the home. Immediately, they realized they had only seconds to rescue the child.
“When I got there, it was pretty hectic,” said Cpl. Ryan Shultz, the first olice officer on the scene. “Obviously, the family was screaming at their little ones in the back bedroom, so I wanted to do what anyone else would and try to get him out and get him some help.”
Police broke through a window and desperately screamed for the boy to come to them as flames continued to race through the structure and smoke filled the room. They could not get the child to come close enough to the window to get him out.
“From my understanding, (M.J.) was laying on the floor and crawling around on the floor and obviously there’s a lot going on there,” Shultz said. “He was in that smoke for a good amount of time so disorientation can be assumed and it was loud and I am sure really scary for him.”
That’s when firefighter Lt. Daniel Rohde appeared and used a tool to bust out the entirety of the window frame. He then climbed into the burning home. Police officers had to call out instructions to Rohde on where he might find the boy, as smoke had rendered seeing almost impossible in the home.
Within a minute, Rohde secured the child and handed him through the window to officers who rushed him to medical treatment.
“When I got down to the floor, there was more clear visibility, and at that point I was able to locate M.J.,” Rohde said. “At that point, I went to the door to secure it, because there was fire in the hallway, to clear up conditions in the room. Then I brought M.J. to the window and handed him off to the police department.”
M.J. is doing better after spending time in the ICU on a ventilator due to smoke inhalation, they said.