When Glendale police received a 911 call from a woman at around 5 a.m. Dec. 19, she could only shout “fire” before the line went dead.
Authorities traced the call to a home in the 2000 block of Dublin Drive, and four officers with the Glendale Police Department were the first to arrive on the scene. What the officers encountered was a home engulfed in flames and, on a second-floor balcony, the elderly woman who made the 911 call trapped by the blaze.
The four — Officers Christopher Clay, Jimmy Mercado, Matthew Stafford and Sgt. Ben Bateman — immediately went to work to rescue the woman. Mercado used a nearby table to jump up to the balcony and reach the woman, while the others grabbed a ladder from a neighboring home.
While the house was destroyed in the fire, the woman survived — needing only to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The officers’ actions led to them to receive Medal of Valor honors at the Glendale Police Awards Luncheon on Thursday.
Hosted by the Glendale Police Foundation, the ceremony honored officers, volunteers and local residents for their actions in the community.
Kendall Montgomery was shopping at the Glendale Galleria last August when she saw an older-looking man flirting with a young teenage girl. Although the girl claimed to be 18, Montgomery felt uneasy and called the police.
She, along with her husband, Jordan, kept watch on the two until police arrived.
When officers confronted the man and girl, they discovered he was 57 and she was 16. They had met online, with the man manipulating the girl into a sexual relationship.
Police then uncovered that the man had been manufacturing and distributing child pornography. He was placed behind bars, and the girl has since recovered from the ordeal.
For calling police and keeping watch on the pair until police arrived, the Montgomerys were just two of several others who were honored with the Community Service Award.
The ceremony also marked the debut of the first Life Saving Awards, which were given to five officers whose actions led to the saving of a life.
One of the honorees was Officer James Colvin, who encountered a man slumped over in his vehicle after suffering a heart attack. Colvin performed CPR for several minutes before paramedics arrived.
It was said during the ceremony that the man wouldn’t have survived the heart attack if it wasn’t for Colvin.
The ceremony also honored Sgt. Eric Webber with the Glendale Police Officer of the Year Award.
Webber, who joined the department in 2001 and is president of the Glendale Police Officers' Assn., said he was honored to receive the award.
“I’m inspired by all the other men and women that I work with who laid the groundwork for the type of officer I should be,” he said. “I represent the department as a whole, not just myself.”
ABC 7 Anchor David Ono, who presented the awards, said the occasion also marks the 17th year the station has been involved with the event.
“We at KABC have been here for 17 years now in Glendale, and it’s always an honor for us to participate in this ceremony,” he said.
There was a brief scare before the ceremony when one of the attendees, Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse, collapsed.
LaChasse was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and has been doing well since the incident, according to department spokesman Sgt. Derek Green.