Exclusive: New Castle City Police Officer Springs into action during house fire response

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A New Castle House Fire Is Under Investigation After It Went Up In Flames early Wednesday night.

NEW CASTLE (DE) BY GEORGE SHEA, PHOTOJOURNALIST | A house that suffered extensive fire damage early Wednesday night is under investigation by the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office.

Firefighters arrived to the home in the 400 block of Anderson Drive in the community of Dunleith shortly after 4:30 p.m. to fire and smoke billowing out from the windows and front door.

A Delaware Newsline News crew was nearby and responded to the scene and saw heavy smoke still billowing from the home around 5:00 p.m.

Wilmington Manor, Holloway Terrace, and the Delaware Air National Guard Fire Departments responded to assist the Minquadale Fire Department at the scene. New Castle County Paramedics also responded to stand by at the scene in the event of any medical emergencies.

Photo by George Shea, For Delaware Newsline | An early evening house fire is under investigation by the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office after it went up in flames shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday January 26, 2022

Sources say a police officer, first on the scene, kicked in the front door to see if anyone was trapped inside. Luckily, the home owners were not home at the time.

“Well, I just came out for it. And I looked, I looked to my left but I seen the smoke.,” Said Michael Thomas, an eye witness to the traumatic event. “So I walked down and I can see the flames inside. So immediately got on my cell phone call 911 and county officer came first and he actually kicked the door but when he kicked that door it woosh and when when he ran in there and then came out choking and he said he see nobody in there.”

BWC Provided by New Castle City Police | Body worn camera footage was exclusively released by the New Castle City Police Department showing an officer searching a burring home for anyone trapped inside.

A Delaware Newsline reporter did not see any New Castle County Police vehicles at the scene, however, he did see New Castle City Police officers and all seem to be well with them. On Thursday New Castle City Police Department confirmed that it was in fact one of their officers who kicked in the front door to search for anyone who might of been trapped inside.

The officer was identified as a three year veteran of the New Castle City Police Department and in an exclusive interview with Delaware Newsline, the officer said he was just out getting coffee when he came across the fire.

“I was in the area actually getting coffee. And I came across this house that was on fire and just parked kind of out of the way ran into some neighbors., Said Officer Joseph Shanahan with the New Castle City Police Department. “They said that they hadn’t seen the resident come out yet and said all of his cars were still outside, so just out of concern that he was still inside the house – just kind of tried to get inside make my presence known.”

BWC Provided by New Castle City Police | Body worn camera footage was exclusively released by the New Castle City Police Department showing an officer searching a burring home for anyone trapped inside.

Once inside the home, the officer said nobody responded to his call out’s, so he turned around, crawled back out and waited for the fire department.

“Hoping that if someone was in there – were stuck with on the ground, and maybe they can call out to me and I have an idea where they were, and maybe direct the fire department to to where they were in the house, but nobody called out. The smoke was a little fix. I just turned around and waited till people with the proper equipment got here.,” Shanahan said.

New Castle City Police Department released the body worn camera footage from the officer exclusively to Delaware Newsline. The video shows the officer pulling up to the scene, asking neighbors who were walking towards his police cruiser as he got out if everybody got out of the burning home. The video then shows the officer running towards the house. Once at the house, he begins to knock and then turns around and starts kicking the front door. Once inside, he drops to his knees and begins crawling further inside the home, announcing “Police, anybody home?” He does this several times before turning around and making his way back out the front door, crawling and coughing in the process.

The officer did not require medical treatment for smoke inhalation and remains on duty.

Photo by George Shea, For Delaware Newsline | An early evening house fire is under investigation by the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office after it went up in flames shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday January 26, 2022

As firefighters worked to bring the fire under control, we caught up with neighbor Alexis Kale, who said she feels so bad because her neighbor has no house anymore.

“All I know is I walked out the house, I see a whole bunch of firefighters. My neighbor’s house is on fire. I don’t know what just happened. Feel bad. I’m not gonna lie. You have a house no more.,” Kale said.

When asked if anyone was home, Kale said the home owners had just left ten minutes before the fire started.

“Nope, he was not home. He had literally just left like 10 minutes before everything happened,” Kale said.

We’re waiting on the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office with more information but Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Fox said, “The fire remains under investigation.”  

George Shea is a Delaware Newsline Digital Broadcast Journalist and has an emphasis on crime and social justice. Contact him at gshea@delawarenewsline.com. Follow him on Twitter @denewsline. Follow Delaware Newsline on Facebook for the latest breaking news stories.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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