COMANCHE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Sunday was a regular evening on patrol for 23-year-old Comanche Police Department’s Officer Heath Oakley. The young officer went about his route on the lookout for intoxicated drivers during the Memorial Day weekend. That regular evening expired when a man caught up with Officer Oakley, flailing his arms and calling out for help.

“So obviously that caught my attention,” Officer Oakley siad. “[It told] me that there’s a fire right down the road and we need to get down there immediately.”

Oakley was the first official to arrive at the scene, immediately taking stock of the situation.

“When I get there, there’s two structures fully involved and the third one just about to go,” Oakley recalled.

With two trailer homes already lost and a third in danger, Officer Oakley spotted an open door. With prior experience as a volunteer firefighter, the cop found then that old habits die hard.

Inside, the home’s resident attempted to put out the flames on his own. All the while, smoke and embers were closing in.

“Looking at the big picture, there was no way that he nor I could do anything about the fire that was coming for us,” Officer Oakley said.

Though choking on smoke and soot, Officer Oakley called out to the man and together they vacated the structure.

“That’s the most painful experience of my life- is trying to breathe and there’s no air,” Officer Oakley painted.

With no time to rest, he rushed to the neighbors nearby, confirming that all structures had been cleared. Though just moments later, the Comanche officer said he heard the familiar sound of a propane tank being overheated in the distance.

“I heard them. Immediately, I knew they were about to go,” Officer Oakley said. “I turned back around and that trailer we had just exited was fully involved in a structure fire.”

Three trailers are gone for good. Fortunately, no lives were lost. While fire crews were able to extinguish the flames, the night was far from over.

Aftermath of mobile home fire

“Burning particles from the fire had actually traveled north,” Officer Oakley described.

According to the officer, fire broke out just a few blocks over to a house with three dogs inside. A nearby neighbor had began to spray the structure with a hose. The neighbor and the officer then, safety set aside, busted into the home to check for occupants.

“He and I went inside, grabbed the dogs and brought them outside to safety,” Oakley said.

The whole experience was ‘life changing,’ Officer Oakley said. No doubt was it the same for those he rescued.

“We all got out of there by the grace of God,” Officer Oakley attributed. “That’s really what it was.”

For his efforts, Officer Oakley will be presented by the Comanche Police Department with an award for Distinguished Meritorious Conduct, as well as the Life-Saving Award. While the officer says he is grateful to be honored, Officer Oakley said the safety of his community is his sole driving force of his hard work and bravery.