110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted May 9, 2013 - 9:05:38pm
A deputy on patrol never knows what's going to come up next. For Volusia County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Odgers and Deputy Byron Poteralski, what started as a routine tour of duty the morning of March 12 turned into a matter of life and death.
The Sheriff's Office reported the two deputies took "quick and brave actions" to save the life of a 1-year-old girl who was inside a house engulfed in flames on Bath Street in Deltona.
Sheriff Ben Johnson presented the two deputies with medals of valor for their actions to save the baby's life. The awards came May 7 during a presentation at the Deputy Stephen Saboda Training Center.
In March, Poteralski and Odgers rushed to the scene of the home that was engulfed in flames, and were among the first to arrive. They were first told everyone was out of the house safely, but then family members realized the 1-year-old was not with them.
"Odgers rushed through a rear door, but was forced to retreat after being overcome by extreme heat and heavy smoke," the Sheriff's Office reported.
Then, Poteralski broke a window and clambered into the smoke-filled house. Fortunately, he found the baby right away — he couldn't have survived himself for very long in the thick smoke.
Poteralski passed the limp baby through the window to Odgers, who at first feared it was too late.
Then, Odgers saw mucus bubbles coming from the baby's nose and knew she was still alive.
Covered in soot and mucus, the motionless baby was rushed to awaiting paramedics for medical treatment for smoke inhalation and minor burns. She has since recovered.
Odgers gave credit to Poteralski for saving the baby.
Sheriff Ben Johnson gave credit to both men.
If another couple of minutes had passed, the baby would not have survived, Johnson said.
"This child's life would have been gone," he said. "I just can't say enough good about both of you for the job you did."
The audience of co-workers gave the two deputies a standing ovation.
The comments posted below are posted by readers, not by The Beacon staff. These comments express the views and opinions of the authors, and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster. The comments forum is governed by these rules. Please use the report abuse link if you find offensive comments.
Did you find this story interesting or informative? Subscribe to The West Volusia Beacon to read more stories by Pat Andrews, along with others from our award-winning writers. Subscribe now!