Two Richmond police officers rescue 10 people from motel fire

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:40 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:05 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two Richmond police officers are being recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty after evacuating ten people from a motel when it caught on fire.

Police say the fire happened around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Richmond Inn located at 6346 Midlothian Turnpike. The officers weren’t even supposed to be there, but just happened to see the smoke and rushed over without hesitation.

“At first it didn’t look terrible, it almost looked like a trash can fire,” said officer Ben Frazer.

But once they got inside, they both realized how serious the situation was.

The fire caused extensive damage, but thanks to the officers, everyone inside made it out safely.
The fire caused extensive damage, but thanks to the officers, everyone inside made it out safely.(Vu, Amy Q. - Fire | Richmond Police Department)

Investigators say a resident left their clothes on a heater and it sparked a fire.

“Gibson had actually called me on the radio and said ‘Frazer the whole room is going up,’” said Frazer. “And at that time, I was right above the room and that’s when it came over the second-floor railing.”

The smoke was so thick that Officer Frazer had to use the guard rail to find other residents. He also had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

On the ground level, Officer Gibson fought the fire with an extinguisher and used a ram to access locked rooms.

“Just makes us happy that no one was hurt,” Gibson said. “We were able to do our job, help people, and no one got hurt. And that’s the biggest thing for us.”

For their quick thinking and heroic actions, their captain, Faith Flippo, nominated them both for the lifesaving award.

“They went above and beyond,” Flippo said. “That’s not something we get called to do a lot of the time. They put themselves in danger to save others.”

Despite having no formal fire training or protective gear, the officers were able to warn everyone get them outside safely.

“In a situation like that, I don’t think it matters if you are a police officer, a firefighter or whatever,” said Frazer. “The average human being would have done the same thing we did - there’s a lot of good people in this world and you have to do the right thing.”

As for the lifesaving award, these officers have been nominated for, the deserving duo will learn the results sometime in April.

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