Missouri Medal of Valor Recipient
Jared W. Debrecht, Iron County Sheriff's Office
Just before 1 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2012, Deputy Debrecht was dispatched to a mobile home fire to assist the Pilot Knob Fire Protection District. A trainee was riding with Debrecht and the two were first on the scene. When radio traffic made it clear the fire department was having trouble finding the residence, Debrecht instructed the trainee to drive the patrol car to Highway 21 to direct fire responders. In the meantime, as flames and thick smoke were coming from the entrance to the home, a woman shouted that her husband was trapped inside. Knowing that firefighters were delayed, and without breathing apparatus or protective gear, Debrecht entered the smoke-filled trailer on his knees and crawled toward the front, where he could hear noise. He continued to call out the victim's name, but did not get a response. The fire was growing. Eventually, he saw a man appear and then disappear around a corner. Debrecht then saw the victim's arm near the floor, as if he were searching for a way out. Debrecht grabbed the arm and was able to slowly drag the victim back to the rear of the trailer and outside. Once outside, Debrecht and the victim's wife got the victim away from the burning mobile home, which was now fully engulfed in flames. The victim was treated and made a full recovery because of Deputy Debrecht's willingness to courageously battle smoke and fire without protection.