Police officer rescues unconscious woman from apartment fire

PERRYVILLE – A Perryville police sergeant is being called a hero for going into a burning apartment twice, without any protective gear, to rescue a mid-40s woman from a fire at the Creekwood Apartments Building E at 1501 Alma Avenue in Perryville Sunday night.


Assistant Perryville Fire Chief Bill Jones called Sgt. Garrett Schott’s actions, “most heroic” and added, “it was the finest example of dedication and public service” that he has ever seen.


Sgt. Schott found the woman on his second sweep of the apartment and he then, along with Officers Jeremy Tenney and Stephanie Rumsey, managed to bring the unconscious woman outside, where they immediately began efforts to resuscitate her. She was flown by a medical helicopter to a burn unit in St. Louis where her present condition has not been reported.


Jones said all three officers were treated for smoke inhalation and released. He pointed out as police officers, the three had no breathing apparatus or even turnout gear. What they did have was being first on the scene. One fire fighter, Brian Bodendieck, was also treated for smoke inhalation and released.


Jones said the fire call came in around 10:53 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Schumer


Perryville, Biehle and Chester Fire Departments responded to the blaze. Jones said they needed a lot of extra manpower to give the fire fighters a chance to get a break as the hot temperatures and high humidity took their toll.


Jones said the cause of the fire has been listed as accidental, possibly caused by smoking materials or a decorative candle.


He said the heaviest fire damage was limited to the bedroom of the affected apartment. The rest of the apartment had some damage as well, but other apartments in the building were mainly unscathed.


Jones said that was because the apartment building was well-constructed with fire walls that extended vertically to the roof.


Fire units were on the scene until 4:52 a.m. Monday.