Volusia deputy rescues child from burning Deltona house
By Patricio G. Balona
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 8:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 10:56 p.m.
DELTONA -- A Volusia sheriff's deputy broke a window in a burning home on Tuesday morning, climbed in and rescued a 1-year-old girl in a playpen, authorities said.
Deputy Bryon Poteralski, 33, said he did not hesitate to go into the burning house because he thought of his son.
"I have a child of my own almost the same age like her and I could not bear the thought of losing him," Poteralski said Tuesday in a press conference. "I hope someday someone will do the same for me."
Poteralski said he sprang into action when Samantha Holley, who was standing outside the burning house at 2930 Bath Street at 8:04 a.m., suddenly remembered her niece, Shyann Norvitz, was still in the house.
Holley, who is eight months pregnant, was outside with her two young daughters, said her husband, Brian Holley.
According to an incident report, a sheriff's sergeant tried to enter the house that was engulfed in flames, but was prevented by thick smoke.
The sergeant notified Deltona firefighters about the trapped baby. Before they could get to the house, Poteralski located the baby's room at the back of the house and broke the window with a baton.
"The baby was lying in a crib unresponsive," Poteralski said. "She had a lot of mucus around her nose and mouth."
Poteralski shielded the baby from smoke and flames and handed her to firefighters through the window, said sheriff's spokesman Brandon Haught.
Sheriff Ben Johnson said he was proud of the deputy's heroic action because it averted a tragedy.
"This was a real tragedy in the making," Johnson said. "In the confusion people didn't know there was a baby in the house.
"The baby probably would have suffocated," the sheriff said.
The child, who was not injured, was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City for evaluation, Haught said.
Poteralski said he suffered minor scratches from breaking the window to climb into the house, but is glad to be back on patrol.
The child's grandfather, Alan Holley, said he is grateful the deputy risked his life to save his granddaughter.
"It was brave of him to go into the burning house without thinking of himself," Alan Holley said.
The child is safe because of Poteralski's selflessness, the grandfather said.
"Without him," Holley said, "it could have been a disaster."
No official cause of the fire has been determined and the State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151