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The City Journals

West Valley Police Respond to House Fire

Mar 10, 2016 11:46AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

West Valley - While many Unified police officers attended Officer Doug Barney’s funeral in West Valley on Jan. 25, other officers, including those from West Valley, were filling in for police while they attended the funeral. Around 8 a.m., two West Valley police officers were dispatched to a house fire in Kearns at a home near 4380 West and 5255 South.  

When the officers arrived, they could see smoke coming from the roof around the eaves and knew they had to act quickly. When the dispatched police arrived, to their surprise they found another officer was already at the scene dressed in his class A uniform on his way to the funeral. 

“To be on the way to a funeral of one of your fellow officers, and you have the character to stop at a burning house to get two elderly people out of this, and three to four minutes later, you’re back on your way to the funeral, I think that’s really amazing,” Sgt. Trudy Cropper said, commenting on Unified Officer Brandon Sulich’s quick thinking. 

Sulich said it took him all of pulling down the shift gear to know what he had to do. 

“I heard dispatch say there was a house fire. Once they put out the address, I knew I was about 30 seconds away from it,” he said.

Sulich, along with West Valley City Police Department Sgt. Trudy Cropper and Scott Folkers, rushed into the burning home knowing that there were two people in the home that needed to be rescued. Sulich said he could hear people downstairs as he was calling out. He found an elderly couple, believed to be in their 70s, in a room and told them they had to act quickly. 

Sulich found the West Valley officers on the stairs and helped the elderly couple up the stairs and through the front door to safety. The West Valley officers had the woman sit down on her walker and wheeled her out. Once the elderly man was outside the home, Folkers lifted the elderly man and pulled him away from the burning home. 

“Then the fire department came. I talked to them, and they said if it was probably five more minutes, the fire probably would have collapsed the entrance right down to the basement. And that was the only exit and entrance to the house,” Folkers said.

As for Sulich, as soon as he knew the elderly couple was out of the house, he made his way back over to the funeral. 

“If Doug Barney was there yesterday, he wouldn’t have wanted us to stop any sort of police response because of him,” Sulich said. “He would have been happy to respond, and if Doug was there he would have wanted to respond as well.” 

Sulich made it back to his precinct on time before heading to the funeral, even though he smelled like smoke. He added that having the West Valley police there to help cover the area during the time of the funeral was also uplifting. 

“It was a testament; that’s part of the reason that we’re law enforcement. The biggest thing for me in regards to law enforcement is the esprit de corps. You can take an officer from South Jordan and an officer from West Valley and an officer from Unified Police and we’re all brothers and sisters,” Sulich said.

Even though the West Valley police officers were out of their precinct, they responded to a call knowing it was important to save the life of anyone and no thanks was needed. 

“They don’t need to thank us; it’s our job. I don’t need thanks,” Folkers said.

The elderly couple made it out safely and only suffered minor injuries.