Off-Duty First Responders Save Maryland Couple From Fire

"They dragged us out"

An off-duty police sergeant and off-duty firefighter rescued a couple from their burning home in Montgomery County early Tuesday.

Photos and Chopper4 footage show the house engulfed in flames, and then gutted by the blaze.

The couple was asleep in their house on Stanley Lane in Colesville before 6 a.m. when they heard strange noises. The woman went to check them out.

"The wall's on fire," she told her husband, Dan Clutch.

"I jumped out of bed and started making my way toward the door," Clutch told News4.

Montgomery County Police Patrol Sgt. Scott Brooks was driving to work on New Hampshire Avenue when he saw the smoke.

“Observed, like a big funnel cloud slash smoke going straight up in the sky, like black smoke,” he said.


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He called in the fire and followed the smoke to the house — the first to arrive.

“The house was fully engulfed coming from the back area with both smoke and fire," Brooks said.

Brooks went to the front door and found it locked. Meanwhile, the couple was trying to make their way out of the house.

Brooks kicked open the front door and found a woman there.

“When I kicked the front door in, the female occupant was on the other side of the door,” he said. “I actually knocked her over when I kicked the door.”

“I dragged her out the front door, and she was screaming that her husband was still inside the residence,” Brooks said.

He then went back inside the smoke-filled house looking for Clutch.

“I tried to go in a couple of times,” Brooks said. “The smoke was pretty bad. I ended up getting down on the ground and I could see his legs in the center of the room area, and at some point he fell to the floor, and I went in and dragged him out.”

Off-duty Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Lt. Wes Owens also arrived and helped lead the couple to safety.

"They dragged us out," Clutch said.

The couple was not injured.

Seventy-five firefighters responded to the blaze. No one was hurt, but the accidental fire caused an estimated $400,000 in damage, the fire department said. It was found to have started on an enclosed porch where several batteries were stored.

Later Tuesday morning, the couple tried to salvage their possessions. They said they didn't know where they would go Tuesday night.

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