22-year-old Dewey Beach police officer saves 6 from fire then aids cardiac arrest victim

"I just knew I had to help them and try to make sure everyone was safely out of the house at that moment," Officer Kane said.

ByGray Hall and Brock Koller via WPVI logo
Friday, April 22, 2022
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Officer John Kane told Action News he was on routine patrol when he saw smoke in the air while driving on Coastal Highway.

DEWEY BEACH, Delaware (WPVI) -- Six people survived an inferno at Dewey Beach in Delaware last weekend thanks to 22-year-old Police Officer John "Jack" Kane.

Kane told Action News he was on routine patrol during his 14-hour shift around 3 a.m. Saturday when he saw smoke in the air while driving on Coastal Highway.

He decided to investigate.

"I saw an orange glow coming from one of the buildings," Kane said.

The patrolman said he got to the scene on Swedes Street and Bayard Avenue as fast as possible and noticed four cars were out in front.

"With no one standing outside and no one calling 911 yet, I knew I had to act quick because people were still in the house," Kane said.

After the officer contacted a nearby volunteer department for assistance, he tried to find a way inside the burning home.

Kane said there was no way to get in through the front as it was fully engulfed in flames. So the 22-year-old Dewey Beach officer ran to the back of the home to gain entry.

Once inside, he went up the back stairs and found the residents inside.

Kane helped a total of six people safely escape the fire.

"You know when you do this job, you may have to put your life at risk sometimes to help others. I just knew I had to help them and try to make sure everyone was safely out of the house at that moment," Kane said.

The weekend blaze destroyed three homes on the block. No one was seriously injured.

Kane has received praise from his community and on social media for his heroic actions.

"Great job by this Dewey Police Officer. True hero for saving the lives of 6 people prior to the FD arrival. You want to see a hero, here he is! Great job sir!" Steven Deery, former president of the Delaware State Fire Chiefs Association, wrote on Facebook.

The Delaware Fraternal of Police State Lodge said on its Facebook page that anything can happen during a shift and being ready to respond is a full sensory experience for officers. They credited Officer Kane with "putting those lessons into action."

Though he's grateful for all the support, Kane said it was what any other officer would have done in his position.

"I'm very grateful for all the support we have gotten. It's just something that I feel every police officer in this department, every police officer in the state of Delaware, every state for that matter, would've done the same thing," Kane said.

Before leaving his shift, Kane said he was able to check on those he rescued. They thanked him for his quick actions.

Kane said the community has come out to help those affected.

After the officer ended his 14-hour shift that morning, he was on his way home when he heard a call about a cardiac arrest in progress.

"I was one street over," Kane said.

Just as he did hours before, the officer didn't hesitate to help.

"You're never really off duty," Kane told Action News.

He got to the scene at the same time as a Delaware state trooper. They both started administering aid to the victim who survived the health scare.

The 22-year-old then made his way home.

"(I was) thankful to be going home. Not only did I get to go home, but everyone else got to go home," Kane said.