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Mailman, Tampa police officers team up to save disabled veteran trapped inside burning home

Sergeant put on a gas mask and ran inside
Posted: 12:29 AM, Jun 10, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-10 00:29:09-04

A United States Postal Worker and four Tampa police officers are being called heroes after they worked together to save the life of a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran trapped inside his Tampa home.

Jason Moss was on his regular route when he says he smelled burning plastic. Then he saw smoke billowing out of the home at 7903 Greenwood Avenue.

“I just went in and did what anyone would do. I knew the father was there and the two dogs,” Jason Moss said. “Oh, I was scared to go in. I had to slide in through the window and when that smoke hits you you can't see or breathe.”

Moss was overcome with smoke. Another Tampa police officer also couldn’t handle the intense smoke as they frantically tried to reach Terry Sims, 68, who was trapped in the back of the home.

Tampa police officer Charnele Baker, Richard Caldwell, and Peter Sierra were trying to reach Sims. When their Sergeant arrived on scene he grabbed a gas mask and never hesitated to run in.

“Sgt. Larry Brass is the real hero,” Sierra said. “I felt hopeless. I couldn't get in there, and once my sergeant was in there a few minutes we didn't know what was going on. As soon as he pulled up to the window we grabbed him and got him out of the house.”

Sims was treated for smoke inhalation at an area hospital but suffered non-life threatening injuries.

“It's a life, you can't just walk away,” Moss said.  

A fire investigator has determined that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction possibly related to an air conditioner unit. The home is considered a total loss with damage to the home and contents estimated to be $325,000.

One firefighter was treated for a minor burn received while fighting the fire.