Heroes praised for response to Silvis fire

Police say an 83-year-old woman survived a Silvis, Illinois house fire thanks to the quick thinking of a newspaper carrier and a police officer.

The fire was reported just before 5 a.m. Monday, May 7, 2012 at a house at 636 Fifth Street in Silvis.  A newspaper carrier called to report the fire, and also warned neighbors that the fire was nearby.

Police were the first to arrive on the scene.  Officer Brad VanHoutte reportedly kicked in a door on the back side of the house to get inside and carry an 83-year-old woman out of the home. No one else lives there or was in the house at the time.

Paramedics took the woman to a nearby hospital because she has a heart condition, but authorities said she did not sustain any injuries related to the fire.  Officer VanHoutte was not hurt.

Most of the fire was contained to the front, outside portion of the house.

The officer and newspaper carrier are being congratulated by the police department for their heroic efforts.

“He (VanHoutte) entered a smoke and fire filled house, putting his life at risk and undoubtedly saved this elderly resident.  I’m very proud of his actions this morning and thankful no one is more seriously injured,” said Silvis Police Chief William Brasche.

Investigators are now trying to figure out where and how the fire started, though they say the cause does not appear to be suspicious.

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