NewsPasco County


Officer who tried to save woman from Dade City house fire speaks out

Posted at 8:51 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 02:41:44-05

DADE CITY, Fla. — A woman died following a morning fire at a Dade City home.

A jogger flagged down a Dade City police sergeant around 6 a.m. reporting the smell of smoke on Southview Avenue.

Sgt. Robert Turngate was familiar with the home and knew he needed to act fast.

“I knew she was in there, because I knew she lived there, and we had to get in there,” he said.

The sergeant found the home filled with smoke and used his baton to break several windows before getting inside.

Sgt. Turngate crawled through thick smoke to reach the woman inside.

Despite his best efforts, she did not make it. But the Dade City Police Department is crediting him for jumping into harm's way.

"It's in your blood as a police officer, it’s in your blood as a firefighter to do the things that most people don’t want to do," said Sgt. Turngate.

The patrol sergeant, who spent 25 years with the Tampa Police Department before joining Dade City, encountered a danger situation most officers never have to experience.

"Sometimes it’s not always about putting handcuffs on people, you know, it’s about helping people.”

Pasco Fire Rescue hasn’t released the woman’s name or what might have caused the fire.

They say the fire was contained to one room in the home.

Officials say a pet cat and a bird also died in the fire.