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On-Duty Officer's Home on Fire; 13-Year- Old Helps Alert 911

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On May 14 at approximately 4:30 p.m., 13-year-old Eva Soderstrom saw smoke coming from her neighbor's home in Damascus and alerted her Mom to call 911.  Montgomery County Police Officer Nicole Gamard was on duty that day and in her police cruiser.  Officer Gamard heard the police dispatcher, on the police radio, ask officers to assist with a house fire.  She realized that the address provided was her address and that it was her home on fire.   She worried about her two dogs, Quest and Frenzy, who were in the house.

Officer Gamard drove to her home and was there when Fire and Rescue personnel breached the front door.  Her two dogs were within two feet of the door, but it took time to locate them because of the thick smoke.  Officers and Fire and Rescue personnel provided oxygen to Quest using a pediatric mask; Frenzy was in a worse condition and was intubated at the scene. "In all the craziness, looking back, I really wish someone had pictures of four, fully-geared firefighters running with this litter [rescue basket] with a big black dog [Quest] up to a police cruiser with my beat partner in a full sprint behind them," Officer Gamard said.  "Or, of my other beat partner working on Frenzy in the rear of his cruiser.  Truly amazing impressions that are burnt into memory."  Quest survived the fire; Frenzy unfortunately did not.

Today, 5th District Commander David Gillespie presented Eva Soderstrom with a Citizen's Public Safety Award at the 5th District Station.  Officer Gamard and the Montgomery County Police Department recognized that the fire may have taken the life of the other dog, Quest, had it not been for the alert and quick-thinking of Eva Soderstrom.  Officer Gamard, her dog Quest, and representatives from the Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance.

Officer Gamard said of Eva's actions, "A lot of people worked really hard to get Quest back to me, and I am thankful to all of them.  But, it all started with a 13-year-old named Eva.  Other people in the neighborhood saw smoke coming from the house but did not call 911.  The fact that a 13-year-old stepped up and knew to call 911 is tremendous to me."


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Release ID: 14-250
Media Contact: mcpnews 
Categories: press-releases