Three officers hurt saving man from burning motel room

Relax Inn Motel fire

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Three officers were injured saving a man from his burning motel room, after fire broke out at a town of Watertown motel early Monday morning.

According to Relax Inn Motel manager Wanda Estrada, four officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and state police were called to the outer Washington Street motel around 1 a.m. after a man was heard shouting for help from his room.

Estrada says the deputies and troopers quickly got the keys to the man’s room and went in to save him. Another witness tells 7 News those officers formed a chain and were able to drag the man out. Estrada says three of the officers fell to their knees and were coughing due to smoke inhalation.

“Because it was so smoky in there,” Estrada said. “It was like, you’re burning charcoal in one section and it’s all black and you can see not a thing in that hallway.”

Estrada tells 7 News those three officers, along with the man staying in the room, were taken to the hospital.

Jefferson County Director of Fire and Emergency Management Joe Plummer confirmed at the scene that three officers and another person sustained injuries, although the extent of those injuries is unknown.

“It appears only one occupant was injured from where the fire started, the room of origin there,” Plummer said. “That subject was taken to Samaritan Medical Center. We did have, I believe, three law enforcement officers taken to the hospital. Not sure of the extent of their injuries at this point.”

Two of them, troopers Joseph Fay and Sean Iles, were released from Samaritan Medical Center after being treated for smoke inhalation, state police said later Monday morning. The third, Deputy Christian Hughes, was also treated and released, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.

A number of people staying at the motel were taken to the Town of Watertown Fire Department, which was used as a warming station. The Red Cross is helping 16 people, 15 adults and one child.

“It’s going to be a long recovery for the ones staying at the Relax Inn,” Estrada said. “But we’re just going to have to take it step by step and try to help each other.”

“Hopefully the officers are OK,” she said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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