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Chicago Officer Helps Save Family from Fire

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Illinois Transportation Security Officer David BurnetterAn Illinois Transportation Security Officer (TSO) acted swiftly to save a family from their burning home.

TSO David Burnetter arrived home around midnight after his shift at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport when he noticed the dense smell of smoke in the air. He looked around and saw that there was smoke coming from a neighbor’s house down the block. As he approached the home he saw flames bursting from the rear.

Burnetter immediately called 911 and then jumped into action to help the family escape the burning building. After banging on the door for a few seconds, the home's owner, a mother of two teenage daughters, answered. Burnetter told her that the house was on fire and showed her the smoke and flames.

The mother and Burnetter ran upstairs to wake up the girls and get them out of the burning building. The mother made several attempts to go back into the home to retrieve their personal belongings, but Burnetter talked her out of it because it was too dangerous. Burnetter’s wife and neighbor offered the family warm clothes and shelter.

A short time later, the local fire department arrived and said that the home was just minutes away from a "flash over," an extremely potent and life-threatening type of fire event.

“I am proud of Mr. Burnetter’s heroic actions. He exemplifies the high character of a TSA Officer who is always willing to serve the greater good,” said Federal Security Director Kathleen Petrowsky.

Latest revision: 21 February 2014