NEWINGTON -- You may remember hearing about a police officer who sprang into action when a fire broke out while he was patrolling in Newington early Tuesday morning.
"I smelled smoke, it's a pretty uncommon thing at 4 o’clock in the morning in a commercialized area to smell smoke," said Officer Tyler Grant. "So I started looking around investigating, trying to figure out where the smoke was coming from.”
Officer Grant has been with the Newington Police Department for two years, and he is the first responding officer who noticed smoke billowing out from the Grantmoor Motor Lodge on Tuesday morning, and quickly sprang into action.
"I called it out on dispatch, let them know so I could get some help coming my way," said Officer Grant.
He then quickly realized the magnitude of this fire.
"Within three or four or five seconds that I was standing there, it just flashed over the whole room, and just engulfed the whole room," said Officer Grant. "At that point my main goal, and my main concern would be getting anybody and everybody out of those rooms through the whole motel because I didn’t know how fast that fire was going to spread."
Officer Grant then went door-to-door trying to do what he could before firefighters got on scene.
"I was at the right place at the right time," said Officer Grant. "I thank God that we, all the first responders, were okay, and that ultimately everyone in that motel is okay."
Officer Grant, a clearly humble man, said he does not see himself as a hero, and his response was a team effort with the help of three other officers who were also taken to the hospital that day.
"This wasn’t successful just because I was there," said Officer Grant. "Officer Ralph Chater came, and he went right up the stairs, he got a father and son out closer to where the smoke was, Officer Mike Fallon went to the back immediately without questioning when he got on scene and started clearing the back out, and Officer Alan Tancreti also helped get people out."
Firefighters on scene also singing Officer Grant's praises.
"Just lucky that the police officer discovered the fire so quickly, and took immediate action, so he did save some lives," said Newington Fire Department Chief Chris Schroeder.
But to Officer Grant, it was not just luck.
"It was just another day as a police officer," said Officer Grant.
Right now, the fire at the Grantmoor Motor Lodge is being investigated as arson, but all of the four officers, including Grant, and the woman and child who were taken to the hospital on Tuesday are okay, which means Officer Grant is back to business as usual.
"Every officer has a heart behind the badge," said Officer Grant. "They care for their people, they care for their community, and no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, we are here for you."