Millington officer rescues family from burning home

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MILLINGTON, Tenn. — A Millington police officer rescued a family from their home after it caught fire Thursday morning.

William Nelson, 77, and his wife were babysitting their 11-month-old great granddaughter when the flames broke out.  Luckily, Sgt. Dennis Brunson was patrolling the area. 

“And I heard an explosion,” he said.

Then, a second explosion occurred as he pulled up to the home on Baker Street and spotted flames in the backyard.

“All this [patio] was in flames, and you could not stand this close to it,” Brunson said.

So, he ran around the house to a door underneath the carport, where he saw Nelson and his family through the window.

“He just kept yelling get out! Get out! Get out!” Nelson said.

But Nelson couldn’t unlock the door.

“The smoke was so intense,” Brunson said, “It was sort of panicky. You know, he was overwhelmed. You know, what do I do? It was that shock factor.”

Brunson broke the door open and got the family out. They jumped in their car and backed into the street.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a hero,” Nelson said.

Brunson says the flames were so bad, first responders had to evacuate several nearby homes as a precaution. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Brunson believes it may have been an extension cord that overheated and ignited a canister of gasoline on the patio.

The house is badly damaged and currently unlivable, but no one was hurt.

“They’re alive,” Brunson said.

“We’re just thankful to him and to God,” Nelson said.

Nelson and his wife are staying with family until they decide to repair their home or move.

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