WEST BROOKFIELD (CBS) – A part-time West Brookfield cop most likely saved lives over the weekend, when he brought three people out of a house that had been set on fire by lightning.
Officer Frank Jolin received a big hug Monday night from Mandy Leo – whose daughter was one of them. “Nothing prepares you for this,” Leo said, fighting back tears. “Nothing.”
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Leo and her husband were out of town this weekend, leaving the house to his adult daughter and two of her friends.
It was four a.m. Sunday morning in a severe thunderstorm when the garage at the West Main Street home was hit.
Constable Jolin was less than a mile away when a neighbor called out the flames and was the first to arrive.
Flames were already erupting from the roof when this neighbor told Constable Jolin that he was unable to wake the three occupants by knocking on the door.
“When you are told there are people inside, you just go to work,” Constable Jolin said. “All you think about is going in and getting everyone out as quick as you can.”
In fact, it wasn’t until Constable Jolin smashed a front window to enter that one of the people inside woke up – and dialed 911.
Not because she knew the house was on fire, but because she thought a burglar was breaking in.
The uniformed officer quickly convinced the couple upstairs that they needed to get out, then found Mandy Leo’s daughter in a basement bedroom – as smoke began to fill the place.
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“You know it’s funny,” Constable Jolin said, “but you really don’t think about the danger.”
“The property can be replaced,” said Mandy Leo, grateful. “But people can’t.”
Using a strong metal door between the garage and the house, firefighters were able to contain the blaze.
But many people credit Officer Jolin for saving lives, even though he downplays his heroic effort.
“Everyone I work with – all my brothers in blue – would do the same,” suggested a humble officer Jolin.
“I just don’t have words for it,” says Mandy Leo. ” I do not do it. “
Turns out Agent Jolin is a full-time electrician – and part-time cop – who says the payoff for his weekend patrols isn’t the pay. It’s knowing that he made a difference – and that people appreciate him.
“You couldn’t ask for anything more,” Constable Jolin said with a smile.
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This was followed by another hug from a grateful mom.