Off-Duty First Responders Rescue Colesville Couple From Burning Home

Off-Duty Montgomery County Officers Saved Colesville Couple From Fire

Two off-duty first responders — a police officer and a fire lieutenant — rescued a couple from a Colesville house fire on Tuesday morning.

Sgt. Scott Brooks, a patrol sergeant for the Silver Spring police district, was driving to work on New Hampshire Avenue at around 5:30 a.m. when he saw smoke in the distance. At the time, the officer was passing the Colesville Fire Station and noticed that the fire engines were still in the garage.

Brooks continued driving another block when he saw a house engulfed in flames on Stanley Lane (off of New Hampshire Avenue), so he used his radio to report the fire to the emergency dispatcher.

“The door was locked [and] when I approached the house there was some equipment outside that lead me to believe one of the occupants was probably handicapped or elder. I tried the door it was locked; I ultimately kicked the door in,” Brooks said in an interview with MyMCMedia hours after the incident.

Upon breaking down the door, Brooks found a woman — who was somewhat thrown back when he entered because she’d been standing behind the door. Brooks said he dragged the woman outside to safety, but the woman started screaming that her husband was still inside. At some point, he had fallen down and couldn’t get back up, Brooks said.

According to Pete Piringer, the spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services, while Brooks took the woman outside, the off-duty firefighter — Lt. Lesley Owens who serves the Four Corners Fire Station in Silver Spring — was on the scene calling dispatchers. Like Brooks, Owens had been driving to his work in Silver Spring when he noticed smoke and drove until he found the fire.

Owens called 911, saying he saw Brooks rescue a woman and that he was going back inside to rescue the man who occupied the home.

When he re-entered the home, Brooks said he had trouble seeing and hearing the man who was still inside because of the smoke.

“There was a large amount of smoke in the living room area. Ultimately, I had to get down low. There was smoke basically from like the waist area up to the ceiling and I saw his legs,” said Brooks.

Brooks said he dragged the man about 10 feet out to the front porch of the home. According to Piringer, Owens assisted and helped Brooks and the man out of the home.

Around the time the couple was out of the home, Piringer said that around 75 firefighters had arrived on the scene

Piringer said that — “miraculously”  — the couple who owned the home was not injured and didn’t need to be taken to the hospital. And despite entering a burning home with no protective equipment, the two off-duty first responders also didn’t have any injuries.

According to Piringer, the fire originated on an enclosed porch, used as storage. Piringer said that the cause of the fire is accidental, but the specific cause is undetermined and is under investigation.

There’s about $400,000 worth of damage to the house and the couple that occupies the home has been displaced, according to Piringer.

In a video shared to his Twitter page, Piringer joked that there was an application ready for when Brooks — a 20-year police veteran — is ready to join MCFRS.

Brooks is humbled by the attention he’s receiving for his heroic actions.

“We’re not firemen, we don’t have the proper equipment to really deal with it, but if it was my family or my parents in the house, I would expect that an effort would be made to get them out,” said Brooks.

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Deirdre Byrne

About Deirdre Byrne

Deirdre Byrne is a social media coordinator for Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at or on twitter at @DeirdreByrneMCM.


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