CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — After responding to the fatal fire in Flora Monday morning, two law enforcement officers who were first on the scene suffered injuries.
First responders rushed to the scene at 103 E. Columbia St., where a fire broke out at the home just after 3:30 a.m. During their efforts to save the children, Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Yoder and Flora Police Officer Josh Disinger were injured.
Yoder suffered burns to his hands and forehead as well as severe smoke inhalation. He was flown to a burn unit in Fort Wayne and currently recovering.
“Drew [Yoder] in particular, he is just a go-getter and just trying to save those lives,” said Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby. “So, it didn’t surprise me when I got the call, I knew he would be one of those to do that.”
Disinger also suffered from smoke inhalation and was taken to IU Health Arnett in Lafayette, where he is currently recovering.
“Josh [Disinger] is kind of like our local Superman,” Flora Police Chief Paul Redmon said. “he’s unfortunately, unfortunately, however you want to look at it. A lot of these things seem to happen when Josh is working, and he always responds in a very brave and heroic manner.”
Angela Francis lives next-door to the house and is a Carroll County EMT. She knows both of the men and still can’t wrap her head around what occurred.
“It’s pretty devastating, I mean we’re family, we’re all family,” Francis said. “To have one of them get hurt, you know, and anybody, it’s devastating.”
Yoder joined the sheriff’s office in May 2015 as a full-time merit deputy. Before that, he was a reserve sheriff’s deputy and currently he is also part of the Cutler Democratic Township Volunteer Fire Department:
Sheriff Leazenby said even though Yoder was unconscious, he didn’t give up the fight.
“When they were trying to attend to him, he kept in essence fighting them — not necessarily in a bad way, but … I could see the fight in him, so that’s what led me to believe that everything was going to be OK.”
Disinger joined the police department 11 years ago.
Chief Redmon said Disinger was awarded the Medal of Valor after his heroic actions at another house fire several years ago. He said many people in the community look up to Disinger and see him as a role model.
“He did what he has done, what he will continue to do,” Redmon said. “You know, it’s a model for anyone going into this profession or any kind of a first responder profession, whether it be fire, EMT or law enforcement — that’s the kind of guy you want on your team.”
Francis added, “I hope everybody turns out OK and, you know, starts to heal. It’s going to take a long time, but hopefully they’ll get through it alright.”
Both men are in stable condition.