Rescuer Honored By Tulsa Police

Wednesday, September 6th 2006, 9:53 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa apartment complex caught on fire last February. A Tulsa Police officer rushed into a smoke filled apartment to rescue a man who was having a seizure. He struggled against the thick smoke and heat until a Good Samaritan risked his own life to help that officer and another, carry that man to safety.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says the fire happened on February 16th. Black smoke and red hot flames were everywhere. Tulsa Police officer Tom Barbee ran into an apartment and grabbed an unconscious man, but got lost in the smoke and couldn't find his way out until his partner reached him and pulled them free.

A man, who works nearby, Scott Cooksey, had run over and helped them carry the man, who was having seizures, down two flights of steps, with fire on their heels. "I could see him, it was the back of the officer and I thought, he must have something. So, I opened the door and black smoke and heat comes at you. You step back and shake it off and it's like let's get this guy outta here."

Paramedics said had the man been inside even 40 seconds longer, he wouldn't have lived. Tulsa Police say they couldn't have done it without Scott's help. Tulsa Police officer Tom Barbee: "there's not too many times, someone comes in, who's a citizen, to help and put themselves in harm's way and we do appreciate it."

The police department presented Scott with its Citizens Appreciation Award for his uncommon bravery for helping in a time of need. Deputy Chief Mark McCrory: "It does the heart good to see a citizen do the right thing, come to the aid of an officer and risk their own personal safety to help our officers and a citizens they don't even know."

Scott says he's surprised by all the fuss, he says he never hesitated to help that day and was just worried about the victim. "Everybody just got there at the right time. I'm just glad the guy's alright." The man who was rescued did recover.

Scott works near the apartments and says when he pulls up each day and sees the workers rebuilding, he's remembers what happened that day and says he would do it all over again, in a heartbeat.