Amherst Police Officer Brian Griffin, who was sworn in about a year ago, and Sgt. Mike Rosebeck, a 16-year veteran of the department, ran into a burning building Tuesday afternoon to carry the 73-year-old woman to safety.
Griffin is a 2010 St. Paul graduate. He played on the 2009 state championship football team and is the son of Tim and Diana Griffin.
“This is the typical mentality. (It) doesn't matter who you are; it doesn't matter your walk of life; if somebody needs help, they are willing to put themselves in danger to help,” Chief Joe Kurirek told “Fox 8 News.”
John Livengood, who coached Griffin at St. Paul when he was a running back, heard about Tuesday’s incident but didn’t know a lot of the details. He said it doesn’t surprise him to hear Griffin rise to the challenge in such a situation.
“He’s always been a fearless kid,” added Livengood, who said Griffin and the rest of his classmates “always thought of others.”
“He’s a great kid. He comes from a great family,” the coach said.
Amherst firefighters and police rushed to a fire at the Pinecrest Apartments on Middle Ridge Road. According to Fox 8 News, two officers were among the first at the scene and realized a woman with disabilities was trapped on the second floor.
Kucirek had just arrived when he saw the officers helping the woman and he said he was impressed and proud.
"They didn't think about themselves. They say there was an elderly person who needed some help and probably, without thinking, their first action or instinct was to go into that stairwell on the second story and carry her down and across the parking lot. It was amazing,” he told “Fox 8”.
Investigators said they believed without the officers' quick actions, the woman would have died.
The victim now is staying with relatives and told the chief that Rosebeck and Griffin saved her life.
Livengood describes Griffin as being tough and having a “high character.”
“I’m proud of him. We’re all proud of him,” Livengood said. “It’s very exciting to have him step up and save someone’s life like that and risk his own life.”