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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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DV Pilot police & fire

Hero rescues wheelchair-bound man from fire

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

How’s this for a hero? Former special police officer Dean Brauch, a 61-year-old grandfather, was driving through Fair Lawn early this morning when he saw a house ablaze. He ran in, rescued a man in a wheelchair, then quietly tried to slip away.

“This man continued to help until the (resident) was safely out of the home, then left without telling anyone,” said Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Richard E. Schultz, one of the officers at the scene. “[He] made the choice to stop and see if there were people who needed help rather than to continue driving by.”

Brauch, a father of four and grandfather of five, was a a special officer when he lived in Prospect Park. He now lives in North Haledon.

“His actions helped to ensure that there were no injuries at this fire,” Schultz said.

The Fair Lawn Avenue blaze, between 2nd & 3rd Streets, was reported at 6:50 a.m. by a neighbor a block away “who spotted the fire while backing out of her driveway,” the sergeant said.

Police Officers Paul Donohue, Anthony Lugo, Tom Check and Eric Eleshewich were among the first to arrive, and they cleared out the house and two adjacent homes — with help from the 61-year-old Brauch.

It quickly became a two-alarm fire, with units from Elmwood Park, Saddle Brook and Glen Rock zooming there in support, along with a “rapid response team” from the Paterson Fire Department and the Fair Lawn Ambulance Corps, Schultz said.

The blaze was knocked down by 8:30, leaving firefighters to douse potential hot spots. Schultz said the road was reopened shortly after 11 o’clock.

Fair Lawn’s Office of Emergency Management took the four residents of the two-family building to Town Hall, where they were given food and shelter while the Red Cross found them a place to stay, the sergeant said.

Inspectors were trying to determine a cause but they said it doesn’t appear suspicious.

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