Trooper Howard Arnold
Troop C - Tampa
Trooper Howard J. Arnold has been selected as recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month award for February 2001, based on his actions involving the rescue of a man from a burning building.
On February 11, 2001 at approximately 11:45 PM, Trooper Arnold was asleep in his apartment and was awakened by a knock at the door. A neighbor, identified as Mr. Jed Crose, had noticed smoke emitting from one of the apartments and was able to hear the audible fire alarm inside the apartment. Mr. Crose notified Trooper Arnold of this information. Trooper Arnold immediately got dressed and proceeded to the apartment to assist.
After arriving at the apartment, both Trooper Arnold and Mr. Crose observed the apartment smoking and could hear an alarm sounding from inside. As Mr. Crose opened the door with a master key, Trooper Arnold noticed a pair of shoes at the front door, which alerted him of the possibility of someone being inside the apartment. Trooper Arnold, without hesitation, decided to enter the apartment. Due to the thick smoke, he was not able to see inside, but he began to search for possible victims. Trooper Arnold, with his department-issued flashlight and fire extinguisher, began to search through the apartment room to room. He observed a fire alarm as well as a carbon monoxide alarm sounding. He continued his search and subsequently found a male lying in a bed face down in one of the bedrooms. Trooper Arnold called to the male but received no response. Trooper Arnold noticed in the kitchen area prior to entering the bedroom that there was a pot on the stove with a bright red fire and a lot of smoke coming from this area. Trooper Arnold extinguished the flame with his fire extinguisher, then returned to the victim. Trooper Arnold tried unsuccessfully to get a response from the victim, and had to resort to physically removing him from the apartment.
After Trooper Arnold began to remove the victim from the smoke-filled apartment, the victim began to awaken and began to resist the efforts of Trooper Arnold. Trooper Arnold attempted to explain to the victim that he was the police and he was there to assist him, but he continued to resist. Trooper Arnold noticed at this time that the victim was severely intoxicated and continued his efforts to extract him from the building. Trooper Arnold had to resort to forcibly removing him from the building. Soon after the victim was removed, the Hillsborough County Fire Department arrived on the scene and vented the apartment.
As a result of Trooper Arnold's heroic efforts to remove the victim from the building filled not only with smoke but also carbon monoxide, the victim's life was ultimately saved.
Trooper Arnold is commended for his quick and professional response to this potentially tragic incident. He is a 6-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol assigned to Troop C, Tampa.