Police Officer and Firefighter Help Free Man from Burning Home

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Coporal Eric Wilkinson and Firefighter Jason Luna stand infront of the victim's home.
Corporal Eric Wilkinson and Firefighter Jason Luna stand in front of the victim's home.

Date/Time: 04/19/2010 at 1:15 am

Location: 2206 East Chipco Street, Tampa

Victim: Hazziz Crawford, B/M, 34 years old, 2206 East Chipco Street, Tampa

Police Officer: Corporal Eric Wilkinson, 15 year veteran with the Tampa Police Department

Firefighter: Jason Luna


On Monday, 4/18/11 at 2248 hrs TFR units responded to a house fire at 2206 E Chipco Street. While responding to the scene fire crews were told there was a man trapped inside the smoke filled house. As fire crews were responding Tampa Police Corporal Eric Wilkinson arrived on scene. Smoke was coming from the front of the house. Inside the house, trapped behind burglar bars was the home's tenant, 34 year old Hazziz Crawford. Wilkinson happened to have an axe in the trunk of his patrol car. Wilkinson smashed on the lock holding the burglar bars secure across the front door opening. One of the two locks broke about the same time the axe handle broke. Wilkinson could hear the fire trucks approaching. Unable to get the burglar bars open Wilkinson sat on the front porch and reassured Crawford who was just inches away behind the bars that help would arrive soon.

Thick smoke had filled the house by the time East Tampa Fire Station crew 10 arrived on scene at 2253 hrs. Firefighter Jason Luna grabbed a prying tool and rushed to the front porch. Luna quickly sprung open the burglar bars and helped Crawford out to safety. Crawford was conscious, barely able to walk and having some trouble breathing. He was treated on scene by fire rescue paramedics and transported to St Joseph's Hospital. He suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns but is expected to survive.

Firefighters had the flames under control within 10 minutes; no other injuries were reported.

An Investigator with the Tampa Fire Marshals Office determined Crawford was heating grease on the stove top and apparently fell asleep. Crawford awoke to the house filling with smoke. He found the fire in the kitchen but was unable to extinguish it. With the house filled with noxious, blinding, choking smoke Crawford could barely find his way to the front door let alone locate the keys to unlock the burglar bars.

The fire cause is listed as unattended cooking. The accidental fire did about 8,000 dollars in damages. The Fire Investigator did note he could not find a smoke alarm in the house.