WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The man law enforcement officers dragged out of a smoke-filled motel room early Monday morning is in critical but stable condition at a Syracuse hospital.
Jefferson County sheriff deputies say 55-year-old Robert Murphy was first taken to Samaritan Medical Center after his rescue from room 112 of the Relax Inn in Watertown.
He was later airlifted to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.
Deputies Christian Hughes and Nick Curtiss and state troopers Joseph Fay and Sean Iles (See their photos below) responded to the outer Washington Street motel around 12:45 a.m. to investigate a disturbance in room 112.
They talked to someone inside, but had the manager open the door when the person stopped responding.
The room was full of smoke, deputies say, and Hughes entered the room to find Murphy unresponsive in the bathroom.
The four officers dragged Murphy outside. Flames were visible at this point, so deputies and troopers evacuated the remaining rooms and accounted for all tenants.
“I got a knock on the door saying that there was smoke and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Javon Marshall, who had been sleeping in one of the rooms.
Three of the officers – Hughes, Fay, and Iles – were treated for smoke inhalation at Samaritan and released.
Curtiss did not require medical treatment.
“Deputy Hughes, Nick Curtiss, and troopers Iles and Fay, in addition to the other deputies on scene, they all did a great job and we’re really proud of them. Their quick actions definitely saved this gentleman from something worse,” said Detective Benjamin Timerman, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
A temporary warming shelter was set up at the Town of Watertown Volunteer Fire Department for anyone displaced. The Red Cross said it’s assisting 15 adults and 1 child.
Firefighters say the team effort to save lives didn’t go unnoticed.
“In those heavy fire conditions, it’s a matter of seconds, not minutes, so what they did I believe did save that gentleman’s life,” said Captain Fred Sourwine, Town of Watertown Volunteer Fire Department.
The Jefferson County Office of Fire and Emergency Management and state fire investigators are working to determine a cause.
Assisting were Adams Center Fire, Black River Ambulance, Brownville Fire, Glen Park Fire, Guilfoyle Ambulance, Rodman Fire, Rutland Fire, Sackets Harbor Fire, Smithville Fire, City of Watertown Fire, Town of Watertown Fire, and Town of Watertown Ambulance.