Deputy saves man from burning home

Patrol Deputy D. Zehnder
Patrol Deputy D. Zehnder

Columbus County Sheriff’s Deputy D. Zehnder is being called a hero after saving a man form a burning home Sept. 26. broke this story on the day of the fire. The sheriff’s office and fire marshal released more details in the event today. 

Zehnder was on routine patrol along Seven Creeks Highway when he observed a man standing on the porch of a residence, attempting to wave the deputy down.  

Turning his patrol vehicle around, Zehnder saw “a large amount of smoke coming from the front door of the residence,” according to CCSO Spokeswoman Michele Tatum.  

The man on the porch was a neighbor who told Zehnder that another man was inside the residence. 

“Deputy Zehnder rushed inside the residence and observed an unresponsive male on the couch,” Tatum said, “and the deputy carried the male out of the house to safety.”

The victim was described as “very pale and almost blue in color.”  

“Deputy Zehnder was able to get the male to respond after administering sternum rubs,” Tatum said. 

The victim was left with the neighbor while Zehnder grabbed a fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle, and ran back into the residence to extinguish the fire.  A pot on the stove appeared to have caused the fire, Tatum said.  Fire and EMS responded to the scene to assist.

“Deputy Zehnder’s heroic act of courage saved this individual’s life,” Sheriff Jody Greene said in a press release.  “This is an example of the bravery our men and women exemplify daily.  Deputy Zehnder rushed into the residence not knowing the intensity of the fire, only knowing that someone was inside.  He did not hesitate to risk his life for another.  We are proud to call Deputy Zehnder our hero.”

Zehnder has been with the sheriff’s office since May, Tatum said.

It wasn’t the first time CCSO deputies have been forced into the role of firefighters. Sgts. P. Herring and J. McPherson rescued an elderly woman from a burning home in Nakina last year. 


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About Jefferson Weaver 1386 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and the News Director for WTXY AM1540 & Kool 103.9FM Radio. He can be reached at (910) 632-4965, or by email at