Metropolis, IL officers hailed as heroes after saving woman from burning home

(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)

METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) - It was a scene right out of the movies. Police officers rescued a woman out of a burning building.

Two Metropolis, Illinois officers are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a 34-year-old woman out of her burning home.

It happened on Saturday, Mar. 17 when Lasha Kommer's home caught fire with her and her family still inside on East 2nd Street.

Her husband, Adam Kommer, was able to get out of the home their 5-year-old autistic son.

With his arms tightly wrapped around their son, Adam realized that his wife didn't make it out yet.

Fire crews, along with police and EMS were paged out to the fire.

Metropolis Police Sgt. Carl Manley was first on the scene and only after one minute after receiving the call.

Metropolis officer Dan Austin was moments behind him while firefighters were on their way as well.

"When I pulled up, you could see the back of the house," Manley said. "It was fully involved on the back side and I didn't have any fire gear."

After getting out of the car, Adam told Manley that his wife was still inside the house and asked him to please save her.

That's when Manley did everything he could to find her and get her out.

"He told me she was in that room next to the door because she tried to break a window and she knew she was in there," Manley explained. "I went back to my car and grabbed the fire extinguisher from the back so I could have something to break the window with, came back and busted out the window."

Smoke poured out of the bedroom and it finally cleared out enough to where Manley could see inside.

"When it did I could see the top of her hand," Manley recalled. "She was laying on what looked like a couch right underneath the window we busted out. I cleaned the glass from around the window and I could see the top of her head and she was laying there to the side. It looked like she wasn't breathing."

Officer Austin arrived on scene at that moment and quickly helped Manley to try to pull Lasha out of the burning home.

"The fire was actually spreading towards the room she was in," Manley explained. "She was also extremely hot from the heat from the room herself. It was like an oven basically. When we were trying to pull her out, her skin was coming up off, the top layer from where she was burned."

"I knew she was burned pretty badly," Austin recalled. "She actually had some (burns) on her forehead and face too."

Officers dragged her out to safety and started life-saving procedures.

At that point, they noticed she was breathing.

"We didn't think she was still alive," Austin feared. "Once we got her out and on the ground, we noticed that she was attempting to breathe. So I knew it wasn't good but it was better than the alternative."

Austin previously worked as an EMT and began assessment and recovery methods.

"So once we got her out, I just went back into that mode of making sure she was breathing, get her in the recovery position and see what I could do," Austin said.

Lasha was then helped by ambulance crews and other personnel on scene.

"We got her out and we got the initial care going but then the paramedics really did a good job, from Massac Ambulance," Austin added. "They got medications into her, lines and such. Getting her to the hospital was the big thing. That's why the whole system exists. Everybody works together in a situation like this. It worked out really well."

Afterward, she was flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee to the burn unit for immediate treatment.

Lasha's mother, Carmen Mizell Beeding, said her daughter was badly burned and is still at the hospital on Wednesday.

"Lung surgery went well," Adam said over the phone. "The nurses and doctors are going above and beyond."

Police say she was burned pretty badly. The burns were mainly on the top half of her body starting from the waist and up. They also said she might have had some burns inside her throat as well.

Adam told us that he talked with her over the phone earlier on Wednesday.

"She spoke with me today," Adam said with a quivering voice. "I heard her voice."

Mizell Beeding thanked the two officers on a Facebook post from the Metropolis Police Department in which Chief Masse congratulated the officers for saving her.

Adam echoed that thank you as well.

"The officers have my eternal gratitude," Adam added. "Everybody did a terrific job."

Family members and other people in the community hail the officers as heroes.

"Any job, fire, police, EMS, sometimes you're in the position to actually do something extraordinary for somebody," Austin said. "This is just one of those times it actually worked out."

"To me, we were just doing what we were supposed to be doing," Manley added. "I would like to think that anyone else would step up and do the same thing if it was my family or somebody I knew."

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For Lasha, her family tells us that she has already had skin graphs and surgery. They also said she is making some progress but her battle will continue as she has a long road to recovery ahead of her.

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