PLANO, TX - Plano city leaders honored police officers Monday for their bravery when rescuing a little boy trapped inside a burning house.
Officer Russell Harris was working off duty on Feb. 11 when he heard a call for a fire close by.
"I looked over my shoulder and could see how much smoke was coming out of the tree line and something told me to go back," he said.
Harris pulled up to see flames shooting from the front door of 6-year-old Gabriel Spevak’s home. The child’s mother was yelling that he was still inside upstairs. Harris grabbed a ladder from city workers who were also nearby and climbed up.
"Once I cut the screen away from the window is when I could actually see his little hands slapping on the window," Harris said. "I don't remember feeling panicked or anything like that, but I knew that I was running out of time to get the little boy out of the window."
He broke the window, grabbed the boy and handed him down to two waiting officers who just arrived before Plano Fire Rescue.
"A lot of things lined up in that child's favor that day for the people to be there with the equipment they had and for the crew to show up with the ladder when they did. I really felt like somebody was helping intervene to help save that boy," Harris said.
On Monday, Gabriel’s mother, Juany Spevak, got the chance to thank the officer who saved her son’s life. She also talked about her own faith. Her husband passed away two years ago.
"Now, I know that my husband came back. He came back to save Gabriel with the help of beautiful angels," she said.
Gabriel is happy, healthy and said he remembers the rescue. His mother said although he may not understand what happened, only one thing matters.
"We lost everything, but it doesn't matter when you have your son back. Everything else is nothing. We are just too happy and grateful," she said.
The council and fire department also recognized three other police officers who jumped into action, the neighbors who helped and the city environmental services workers who brought the ladder.