Officers honored by city

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Despite the raging fire that claimed one life, Selma’s finest went into a burning building to save a life.

On Monday, the City of Selma honored the five SPD officers and their Lieutenant who saved 43-year-old Matthew Smith. Smith fell to the smoke and heat near the back door of the St. Phillips Street home Sunday, Jan. 16.

The officers – Billy Wright, Brian Dixon, Reginald Fitts, Harry Tubbs (who was unable to attend) and Sgt. David Hopkins – were given Certificates of Commendation from the city and a standing ovation from the crowd, honoring their work.

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“I want to express my thanks to these guys. (They) went into a burning building and pulled a victim out,” their commander, Lt. Chuck Weber, said. “They saved his life and he’s still alive in UAB Hospital.

If it wasn’t for these guys right here, he would not be here today.”

Assistant Chief Jimmy Martin, who used to be the officers platoon Sgt., also praised their effort.

“They did an outstanding job when they were working for me and they’re still doing a great job for the City of Selma,” he said. “I know you’re going to hear a lot more from them on a professional level.”

At 1:35 a.m., the department was dispatched to 607 St. Phillips Street. On the way, they received a radio call warning that someone might be in the home.

The fire originated in the living room of the home, Selma Fire Department Battalion Chief Andy Dearman said. Arson was not suspected in the blaze.

“It was just superheated in there,” Dearman said. “Anybody that was in there, the smoke and the heat would overtake (them).”

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. read from the certificate at Monday’s meeting.

“We thank you for your dedication and your service to protect the citizens of Selma,” Perkins said.