[Hpn] Officer rescues homeless man from fire

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Thu, 24 Feb 2005 09:41:54 -0800 (PST)

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Officer rescues homeless man from fire 

By Henry Pierson Curtis
Sentinel Staff Writer

February 24, 2005, 9:52 AM EST

An Orlando police officer rescued a homeless man trapped inside a burning building this morning, according to the Orlando Fire Department.

Officer Harold O'Lena heard a voice as he broke out the windows of an abandoned building that caught fire shortly after 8 a.m. at 715 W. Anderson St., said Assistant Fire Chief Rudy Johnson.

"I think he went through a back door," Johnson said of O'Lena, who acted rather than wait for firefighters to arrive and search through the smoke and flames for the man. "There's a possibility he could have died."

The homeless man apparently had been sleeping in the single-story wood building near the East-West Expressway, west of downtown Orlando. Firefighters were interviewing him this morning as part of the fire investigation, and his name was not available.

"It was totally destroyed," Johnson said of the building that appeared worth no more than $40,000.

Police would determine if the transient should be charged with trespass and other charges, Johnson said.

O'Lena joined the police department in 2001. 

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