ETX police officers get top awards for saving lives

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - The Jacksonville Police Department awarded top honors to two of their officers on Wednesday for their heroic acts to save people from a burning home.

Officer James Lozano was awarded the Police Medal of Valor and Officer Christopher Bell was awarded the Police Lifesaving Medal.

Lozano and Bell responded to a Jacksonville fire back in June. When they got there, bystanders told them people were still inside the building.

The department says Lozano went into the house and crawled through thick smoke and intense flames. Bell went into the building after Lozano.

Lozano says he found two people still asleep in their beds in the back of the home. Bell says he left the house and met them near a back window.

Lozano then pushed the two people out of the window to safety. No one was hurt in the fire.

"There is no doubt that their courage, quick actions and total disregard for their own safety contributed to saving these two individuals from perishing in the fire," said Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel. 

Lozano has prior fire training but neither of the officers were wearing any special gear when they went into the house.

The officers say it was a moment they will never forget.

"Sometimes there's stressful days at work, just like any other job, but the rewarding part is you think back on those days and you think about what you're doing it for. We're public servants and we're doing it to serve the public," says Lozano.

"It's a very wonderful feeling to know there's that many people that care and love you and want to be there to share in this moment for you," Bell says.

The Police Medal of Valor is the highest award a police department can give, the Police Lifesaving Medal is the second highest.

This is the first time the Jacksonville Police Department has presented either award.

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