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Officials Speak Out About Bethany Apartment Fire

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When fire broke out at Bethany Square Apartments Tuesday shortly after 3 a.m., two Bethany Police officers got the call and quickly responded. When fire broke out at Bethany Square Apartments Tuesday shortly after 3 a.m., two Bethany Police officers got the call and quickly responded.
BETHANY, Oklahoma -

For the first time, News 9 is hearing from the two Bethany Police officers who risked their lives to save others during an apartment fire.

The two officers were the first on scene and got people out of the burning building. Both of the Bethany Police officers say they're far from heroes. They evacuated a building on fire, but say they wish they could have done even more.

When fire broke out at Bethany Square Apartments Tuesday shortly after 3 a.m., two Bethany Police officers got the call and quickly responded.

"We could see smoke coming out of the apartment. The downstairs neighbors had already left, and they were telling us it was the upstairs apartment and believed the man was still up there," said Lt. Chad Meek, a 12-year veteran of the Bethany Police Department.

Both police officers rushed upstairs, where they found a man lying on his living room floor, unresponsive, by a couch engulfed in flames. So with just polyester police shirts on and heavy smoke inside, the two went in.

"We went in underneath the smoke and to get him out as quickly as possible. We stood up and just dragged him as best as we could," said Bethany Police officer, Steven Yeager. "I just think God was there looking out for Lt. Meek and I, because just as we pulled him out there was a back draft of flames that came out the door."

Firefighters and EMSA arrived not long after and credit the officers for their quick rescue.

"They put themselves through tremendous personal risk trying to save that man," said Battalion Chief S.R. Hunter of the Bethany Fire Department. "I assure you, he would've had no chance of survival had those officers not gotten here quickly and risked their own lives getting him out that apartment."

But the man didn't make it and was pronounced dead hours later at the hospital. Neighbors, who saw the whole thing are still shaken up.

"As I was going over there I saw him lying on the sidewalk and that just freaked me out. I thought at first someone had beat him up just because of the way he looked," said neighbor Marshall Hall. "Flames were still coming out his place. He was covered in soot. It just wasn't a good sight."

The police officers said they tried their best to "protect life and preserve property" as their police motto says and states and believe any other officers would have done the same.

"The fire department said that a few more minutes in there, the place would've been fully engulfed and we couldn't have got him out," Meek said. "Unfortunately, he did pass away, but hopefully, we gave him at least a chance to survive."

The man, who died from smoke inhalation, was 59-year-old Mike Cissne, who leaves behind two sons and a grandson. His funeral service will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at Smith & Kernke Funeral Home in Oklahoma City.

Neighbors speculate that Cissne fell asleep while smoking a cigarette, but Bethany Fire officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. They believe it could have been something electrical by the couch where the bulk of the fire burned.

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