Officer honored for rescuing woman, child

By The Associated Press

VALPARAISO — A northwest Indiana police officer has been honored for helping rescue a child and a woman who became trapped in a home that collapsed during a fire.

Lt. Kevin Van Kley of the Porter County Sheriff's Office received its Medal of Honor on Monday, becoming only the third officer in the department's history so honored.

He made the rescue Sept. 10 after hearing a call for service over his police scanner about an active fire with a family reportedly trapped inside their home, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Officials said Van Kley heard screams from the house when he arrived at the scene and quickly entered the burning home, which had collapsed, and removed debris that had trapped a child inside.

After that rescue, Van Kley navigated his way to another area of the home where others could be heard shouting, “All hands on deck,” as fire and police responders worked to lift the home’s roof, which had collapsed to the ground level. He then helped others rescue a woman from that debris.

“It was nothing short of a miracle that we were close by,” Van Kley said in the news release.

Two other officers who also responded to the fire scene — Sgt. Michael Piazza and Sgt. Dave Murray — received Life Saving Awards for their role in the rescues.

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