Metro Police hope donation of crowbars prevents another tragedy - 8 News NOW

Metro Police hope donation of crowbars prevents another tragedy

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LAS VEGAS -- In 2012, a house became engulfed in flames with people trapped inside and no way of getting them out. Security bars on windows and doors were a deadly barrier.

The gasoline-fueled fire exploded from a house on Bartlett Avenue, near Carey Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, September 2012.

The fire killed a man and trapped his 11-year-old son inside the home.

Metro Police officers scratched and clawed at security bars on the door and windows, but they couldn’t pry their way in.

“Burns, lacerations on their hands, officers are going to do whatever they can do to save a life, unfortunately that time it didn't work,” Metro Police Captain William Scott said.

Despite the best efforts of police, they couldn't get to the boy in time.

It has been almost two years since that fire on September 27, 2012, but Capt. Scott says it is something he and the officers there that day will never forget.

“It is a hard conversation to have with anybody who sees someone die in front of you and you can't get in there. So, it is real tough,” Capt. Scott said.

This tragedy was followed by several other fires where police arrived first and had to struggle against security bars.

It is a tragedy police officers face when they happen to arrive before more firefighters, who are more heavily equipped.

People don't normally think that police will arrive at a fire first but officers say because Metro Police’s Bolden area command is small, they arrive first nearly every time.

It's also an area with more security bars that can trap people inside during a fire but now police there have a tool to get inside.

The Safe Village Coalition made up of 33 partners began to work to get police the tools they need.

Monday they presented Metro's Bolden area command with 100 crowbars.

“We couldn't sit by and not do anything. We had to get them what they needed in this effort,” Dora Lagrande with the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority said.

Capt. Scott says they now have more than enough to supply each squad and undercover unit with a tool to get passed the bars.

“A feeling of failure. They feel like they let that person down. They let that kid down. They let that family down, because they couldn't get in because they didn't have the proper equipment,” Capt. Scott said.

He doesn't want any of his officers to feel that way again.

Lowes donated 77 crowbars and the rest came from other private partners.

Capt. Scott says now every officer under his command will be trained by a former SWAT team member on how to properly use their new equipment.

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