Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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July 10, 2013

Hometown Hero: Officer honored for helping save lives during June blaze

JACKSONVILLE — Driven, agile and extremely intelligent, James Lozano is that rarest bird of public servants: A police officer, certified firefighter and bilingual person all wrapped up into one. A triple threat.

Officer Lozano, 25, was honored by firefighters this week for the extraordinary heroism he displayed during his mid-June rescue of two people from a burning structure along West Rusk Street.

“The union and myself wanted to recognize officer Lozano for his heroic actions and going beyond the call of duty,” Keith Fortner, president of the local 2917 Professional Firefighter's Association, explained Monday.

The very nature of the rescue – such as the reason it took place to begin with – is because of extraordinary job performance (and that he knew Spanish), officials said.  

Initially responding to the scene in his capacity as police officer, Lonazo went into firefighter rescue mode when he realized he was the only one at the scene at the time who understood the Spanish being screamed that indicated folks were still trapped inside by fire.

Lozano, meanwhile, had just prevented a well-meaning observer from entering the building on his own to help.

So the quick-reacting officer drew on his many disciplines to effect the rescue of the two people he knew were threatened by the viscous mid-June fire on the corner of Waters and Rusk streets. Both residents were asleep when the fire struck about 7:30 p.m. that Saturday.

It was something to see, Jacksonville Fire Chief Paul White told a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter.

"Other policemen might not have done what he did," White observed.

Entering the residence by side door, Lozano crawled down a hallway – locating one resident asleep in his bedroom. The resident indicated someone else was in the house, so Lozano crawled to that other bedroom and also woke that other person up.

Lozano and the two fire victims escaped the blaze through a window.

Miraculously, there were no injuries suffered by anyone involved and firefighters expertly brought the fire under control in only a quarter of an hour.

The cause? Accidental, it turns out. Caused by an electrical outlet in front of this home.

Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said he is extremely proud of Lozano for his actions during the house fire.

The chief said he currently working to nominate the officer for a prestigious police award.

The chief said more details regarding that development are expected to follow.

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