When she received the call, the cop rushed to the fire along with the other first responders. She had no idea what she was about to find at the scene.
But when she realized that a dog was trapped in the burning building, she didn’t hesitate. The cop’s last words before jumping through the open window were, “I’m going in!”
Detective Julia Caldwell of the Ewing Police Department in New Jersey has spent the last 12 years as an officer, but a rescue she made the previous month changed her life.
The detective had always been a trustworthy cop, and everyone in her department loved her. But no one expected her to go to such lengths for a dog.
Caldwell was on patrol, assigned to keep an eye on an elementary school in an effort to provide extra security to public schools in the wake of the recent tragedies.
The woman heard about a house fire over the radio. While she was concerned about leaving the school, she also wanted to offer assistance in the emergency, especially because she was so close.
Since she was a little girl, Caldwell studied and worked hard to achieve her dream of becoming a police officer. When she finally did it, she was the happiest.
She knew it was a dangerous job, but she had hoped she would be able to do it for many years. The woman had no idea how much things would change after her latest operation.
The residents were not home when the fire started but arrived on the scene quickly. They were not allowed to intervene, though.
The family did not leave their dog inside a burning home. In fact, the residents called the emergency services and told them that a dog was inside when they learned about the fire. Without that call, they would never have known about it. Would they manage to save the dog in time, though?
As soon as she heard the call on the radio, officer Caldwell rushed to the scene of the fire. She was close by, and she knew she had to do something.
She quickly drove to the burning building. People were already trying to put out the fire, but they didn’t seem close to finishing. That’s what prompted the woman to take the decision of her lifetime.
When officer Caldwell reached the scene, the building was surrounded by flames. When she arrived, she had learned that there were no people in the home but that there was a dog. She knew she had to help.
The dog was locked in a pen, and if someone didn’t rescue it, it would certainly lose its life. Someone had to do something.
Being locked in a pen, the dog was whimpering, and it could be heard through the open window by the people trying to help. But they were all waiting for the flames to die down.
When Julia heard the dog, her heart trembled. She had two dogs of her own, and she couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the animal inside the burning building.
While the first responders were putting down the fire, none of them dared to go in, knowing that no people were left inside. No one wanted to risk their lives for a dog.
But then, officer Caldwell did something no one expected her to do. She volunteered to go in. She couldn’t leave the dog there.
A neighbor was able to show first responders which window to go through, and Caldwell, who is 105 pounds, said, “Get me in there!”
At first, her sergeant said, “You can’t go in there,” but she responded, “Yes, I can. Watch.” And before you know it, she was inside the burning building, surrounded by thick smoke, looking for the unfortunate dog.
Another officer helped Caldwell through the window, and she went inside the room where the dog was. While that particular room was not yet on fire, it was hot and filled with invisible gases. It was hazy and felt like being underwater.
It took Caldwell about 90 seconds to reach the pen, unlatch it, wrap the dog in a blanket and get it to the window. She lifted the 70-pound dog into the waiting arms of the officers outside.
The woman followed the dog out, but it wasn’t long before she started experiencing strange symptoms. Her speech began to change, and her tongue started to swell.
The next thing she knew, she was waking up in the hospital with officers around her. She learned she’d been placed in a medically induced coma after experiencing respiratory tract damage and had reactive airway disease.
The damage sustained during the saving operation could affect officer Caldwell for the rest of her life. She still believed it was worth it, though.
The cop’s sacrifice saved a life that day. Even though she put herself at risk, the officer said she would do it again. That’s just the kind of person she was.
When Caldwell told her pulmonologist she had only been in the room for about 90 seconds, the doctor told her, “Honey, that’s a minute too long.”
For a month after the incident, Caldwell was off-duty. She was eventually cleared for desk duty but not full duty yet. She was happy she could return to work, even though she couldn’t patrol the city yet.
Caldwell’s husband and many others have voiced their pride in, and thankfulness for her actions, and the dog lover said she had to do something.
“I look at it this way,” Caldwell said. “I have two dogs, and I just couldn’t imagine losing my house and everything in it, and my dogs, in the blink of an eye. I knew I could get in that window, and I just thought, let me get in and get out.” Her story reached millions of people who praised the cop’s heroic actions. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.