Elderly Woman Thanks Officer Who Rescued Her From Fire

An elderly Vermont woman thanked a police officer who saved her from a fire.

Roberta Howard, 82, of Thetford, attended a Vermont State Police award ceremony Friday at the Statehouse in Montpelier.

Back in February, Howard passed out as fire was tearing through her home. Sgt. Lyle Decker of the Vermont State Police learned from relatives of Howard that she was likely in a favorite chair. He crawled under the smoke to retrieve Howard.

Friday, the commander of the Vermont State Police, Col. Tom L’Esperance, honored Decker with the agency’s “lifesaving award.” Decker and Howard hugged and posed for photos after Decker collected his honor.

Howard told necn she and her family can’t thank Decker enough for what he did.

"I think he probably felt at the time, 'If that was my mother in there, I would hope that somebody would do the same,'" Howard said. "I didn't know at the time what was going on, but I must have known somebody would come. And somebody did — before it was too late."

Howard was not burned in the fire, but said she did need to be airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning and other concerns.

Howard said she is now doing great, and added she is very grateful to the Vermont State Police, her family, and her community for all the support over the past several months. Howard said she is looking forward to having her home rebuilt.

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