A police officer rescued a pregnant woman from a burning house in Forked River early Friday, police said.
Officer Michael Eden rescued 28-year-old Brittany Bodzak while she was trapped within the home. After hearing her screaming that she couldn’t find a way out, Eden kicked over a section of fencing then smashed a window to a bedroom with his arm, police said.
UPDATE: The Ocean County Fire Marshall’s Office and the Lacey Township Police Department are conducting the investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.
Eden also was released from the hospital at 7 a.m. after receiving testing and treatment for smoke inhalation. No update is available on the condition of the residents of the home at this time.
At 2:35 a.m., while on patrol, Eden noticed an odor of burning plastic along Lacey Road near the northeastern portion of the Pines Section of Forked River. He then observed flames coming from a residence on Lane Place.
As Eden was approaching the home, a 911 call was transferred to Lacey Dispatch from Ocean County Dispatch. The 911 call originated from a neighbor at 233 Lane Place who had seen the home engulfed with flames.
Due to Eden’s alertness, police said, he arrived on scene at the same time as the 911 dispatch.
Eden identified the home as 229 Lane Place and quickly learned that as many as six residents live in the home. Prior to Eden’s arrival, two adult males, 28-year-old Stephen Bodzak Jr. and 23-year-old Patrick Oliveto, had made their way out of the home through their bedroom windows and were standing in the roadway on Lane Place.
The two adult males in the roadway indicated that other family members were still within the residence while the home was burning, police said.
Since the front of the home was fully engulfed in flames, Eden made his way around to the backyard by kicking and breaking through a secured gate. Upon entering the back yard, he saw three other family members standing away from the home, police said.
The three family members included the mother, father and 10-year-old daughter from the residence. The mother and father, 46-year-old Diane Bodzak and 56-year-old Stephen Bodzak Sr., indicated that their adult, pregnant daughter was trapped within the burning residence.
After breaking through the window and while thick smoke was billowing out of the window, Eden climbed halfway into the window while continuing to yell for the woman.
Neither the woman nor Eden could see each other due to the thick billowing smoke. Based on the yelling, Brittany Bodzak was able to make her way to Eden’s and he quickly pulled her through the window to safety.
It is believed at this time that all of the members of the home escaped through windows, as the doors in the center of the home were inaccessible due to the fire and smoke.
Due to the exposure to the intense heat and thick smoke, Eden along with Brittany Bodzak and Stephen Bodzak Sr., suffered from smoke inhalation. The Lacey Township First Aid Squad transported Officer Eden as well as Brittany Bodzak and Stephen Bodzak Sr. from the scene to Community Medical Center for treatment. Other family members responded to the hospital thereafter for treatment of minor injuries sustained while climbing out the windows during the initial stages of the incident.
Concerns regarding two family dogs being within the home have been resolved, as the German Sheppard made its way out of the residence with the family and, unknown to the family at the time, the Rottweiler also fled the residence and has since safely returned.
The Forked River Fire Company responded and extinguished the fire. The Ocean County Fire Marshall’s Office and the Lacey Township Police Department are conducting the investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.
Eden was released from the hospital at 7 a.m. after receiving testing and treatment for the smoke inhalation. No update is available on the condition of the residents of the home at this time.