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Moment brave sheriff’s deputies rescue nine-year-old from his burning Florida home

Two Florida Sheriff’s deputies rescued a nine-year-old boy from a house fire moments before the house was completely engulfed in flames.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Reich and Deputy Alexander Maldonado attended the property fire on Joe Ebert Road in Seffner, Florida, just before 11:00 p.m. on May 19.

Distraught parents Chris and Karen Ares, who were in the front yard with the family dog, told them their 9-year-old son Owen Ares was still inside.

Video from the scene shows the pair breaking Ares’s window and using their flashlights to guide the boy through the smoke to them, where they then grabbed him and pulled him to safety.

They laid him out on the front lawn to check his vitals and waited with Ares until paramedics arrived to take him to a local hospital.

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Two Florida Sheriff's deputies rescued a nine-year-old boy from a house fire moments before the house was completely engulfed in flames.

Two Florida Sheriff’s deputies rescued a nine-year-old boy from a house fire moments before the house was completely engulfed in flames.

The pair broke Ares's window and were able to use their flashlights to guide the boy through the smoke to them, where they then grabbed him and pulled him to safety.

Ares was breathing when he was taken from the house, but was unable to stand up, authorities said.

The pair broke Ares’s window and were able to use their flashlights to guide the boy through the smoke to them, where they then grabbed him and pulled him to safety.

Ares, his mother, Karen McGinnis, and the homeowner were treated at Tampa General Hospital.

Ares remains in the ICU where he is being treated for smoke inhalation. Ares also suffered burns in the incident.

Neither Reich nor Maldonado were injured while rescuing Ares. Both men joined the department in March 2020.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement, “I couldn’t be more proud of the quick actions and bravery these deputies showed, never giving up until they were able to get the boy to safety.” It is because of his heroism that this young man made it out alive.

‘Law enforcement officers are often the first to respond to any emergency scene, so we must always be ready to step in and help. These deputies never hesitated. They are true examples of what it means to be a hero.’

Nine-year-old Owen Ares is being treated for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns

Nine-year-old Owen Ares is being treated for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns

Ares's mother said at a press conference: '[Owen] He is my little hero, my polar star, he is my fighter,' he said.  I've taught him to fight and, in fact, sometimes he fights too much.

Ares’s mother said at a press conference: ‘[Owen] He is my little hero, my polar star, he is my fighter,’ he said. I’ve taught him to fight and, in fact, sometimes he fights too much.

Ares’s mother told the media at a news conference the day after the fire that her son suffered second-degree burns to his face and right arm.

He is ‘heavily sedated’ as hospital staff work to clean his wounds, reports WTSP.

McGinnis said at the press conference: ‘[Owen] He is my little hero, my polar star, he is my fighter,’ he said. I’ve taught him to fight and, in fact, sometimes he fights too much.

McGinnis told the media about her memories of the moment the two hero agents saved her son’s life.

She described being on her knees praying as Reich and Maldonado rescued Ares until someone yelled ‘We got him’.

McGinnis said: ‘I couldn’t catch him. Last night I couldn’t get the chair through the window. And I tried really hard and the agents finally came and got it.’

During the news conference, McGinnis said her boyfriend Roy Vaughn was the first to alert the family to the fire.

Vaughn and McGinnis went out with their dog. McGinnis then went to break her son’s bedroom window, this was a few seconds before Reich and Maldonado appeared.

Fire completely destroyed 110-year-old family home in Florida

Fire completely destroyed 110-year-old family home in Florida

Body camera footage from sheriff's deputies showed neighbors gathered on the lawn of the home.

Body camera footage from sheriff’s deputies showed neighbors gathered on the lawn of the home.

According to authorities, it took firefighters 15 minutes to bring the fire under control.

According to authorities, it took firefighters 15 minutes to bring the fire under control.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Reich and Deputy Alexander Maldonado arrived at the property on Joe Ebert Road in Seffner, Florida, just before 11:00 p.m. on May 19.  Smoke came out.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Reich and Deputy Alexander Maldonado arrived at the property on Joe Ebert Road in Seffner, Florida, just before 11:00 p.m. on May 19. Smoke came out.

Maldonado told the media, “The biggest thing was probably we were both thinking, we have to get this kid out of the house.” That’s what was going through our minds.

Called a hero, Maldonado responded: ‘We were just doing our job, sir.’

Maldonado spoke about the moment he got in touch with Ares, saying, “Once we broke the windows and took out a window from the front of the house, we started yelling, ‘hey buddy, can you hear us?’

He continued: ‘Once we were able to see his arm and Deputy Reich was able to reach over and pull him towards the window, and we were able to get him up over the window. [I felt] just relief and happiness just to get him out of the house, get him as far away from the house as possible, as far away from the smoke as we can’.

Maldonado added, “I hope he recovers quickly and can come back, and hopefully, if we can see him in better shape, and see mom in better shape, and get a chance to say hello to them. The most important thing is to make sure that can recover.

Ares' father, Chris, said that sheriff's deputies should be recognized for the heroes they are.

Ares's mother, Karen, said at a news conference that she was trying to access her son's room when officers arrived.

Ares’ father, Chris, said that sheriff’s deputies should be recognized for the heroes they are. Ares’s mother, Karen, said at a news conference that she was trying to access her son’s room when officers arrived.

Ares’s father, Chris Ares, for his part, said the deputies are heroes and deserve to be recognized.

He wrote on Facebook: “If it wasn’t for the tenacity of these two officers who fought to save his life, this story could have been very different.” Thank you HSO. You are the real heroes!

Meanwhile, McGinnis wrote in part on his Facebook page: “We are all alive and we will get through this…and start over…The clothes I have on are what I have.” The house, the cars, everything… gone… I love him so much and he is alive… I am traumatized… Please keep Roy in your prayers as he too is taken in by his heart… Pray for healing, comfort, acceptance. , understanding, peace again… someday…’

The 110 year old house is a total loss. According to WTSP, the family also lost their cars in the fire.

The fire broke out after someone in the family lit an outdoor fire. The fire spread from there to the garage and to a wooden deck outside the house.

A fundraiser for the family was held on May 21 at the Florida Farmhouse Market in Seffner.

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