Millington, Tenn. — A Millington police officer took the pledge to protect and serve to a new level after he saved an entire family from a fire that destroyed their home Thursday morning.
“I’ve been through two wars, but that probably scared me more than anything,” said the homeowner William Nelson.
77-year-old Nelson said Thursday morning was like any other.
He poured his cup of coffee and spent time with his wife at their Millington home. When he sat down, he heard two explosions from his backyard.
“Then I heard police say, ‘Get out, get out, get out!”
Moments later Nelson’s home was engulfed in flames.
He was trapped in the home with his wife and his 9-month-old great-granddaughter. The phone lines weren’t working for him to call for help. The windows were bolted shut and the doors were too hot to touch for them to escape.
“It was by the grace of God that I was already there at that time. They wouldn’t have had time to escape if someone wasn’t already there,” said Sergeant Dennis Bruson.
Sergeant Brunson was on routine patrol in the area when he heard both explosions. When he made it to the home, he saw it was engulfed in flames.
“I thought to myself, I got to get them out. We cannot fail in this to get them out. We have to do it some way.”
When he noticed all of the locked windows and doors, he busted the front door down to help the family escape.
“I got them and got them to go outside. Then I went back in to see if there was anyone else or any animals in the house,” Sergeant Brunson explained.
The family said if Sergeant Brunson had not been in the neighborhood, things would have been worse.
“If he hadn’t been banging, because that fire spreads quickly. I just don’t know. I feel things would’ve turned out a whole lot worse,” said Nelson.
The fire started after two tanks exploded in the family’s backyard. The cause is unknown. The family is now in a hotel until they find a new home. They say they’ll always remember the day Sgt. Brunson saved their lives, but Sergeant Brunson says he believes he was just in the right place at the right time.