Skip to Content

Deputy reunites with family of toddler he rescued from apartment fire

By Dave McDaniel

Click here for updates on this story

    ORANGE COUNTY, Florida (WESH) — The mother of a two-year-old is thankful for an Orange County deputy who scaled the walls to rescue her youngest child during a weekend fire.

“I know he was sent from God to save us. The effort that he put in was truly amazing,” rescued mom Barbara Elenus said.

“I’m coming!” deputy William Puzymski is heard saying on body cam video.

The body cam video shows Puzymski doing what it takes to get to a two-year-old on the third floor of an Orange County apartment building is burning.

“We’re coming! Hand me your baby,” Puzymski said to Elenus in the video.

Elenus told WESH 2 News, “He’s like ‘give me the baby, give me the baby’ as he’s climbing and trying to get himself sturdy, and I’m like ‘ugh, I don’t know, I don’t want to give you my baby.'”

She did give Puzymski the baby, and now, little Sophie is safe.

“That deputy is my hero. He’s changed my outlook on law enforcement. He was prepared to lose his life to save my life and my children,” Elenus said.

The sheriff’s office released a video and photos on social media showing a Tuesday reunion between the mother of four and first responders who answered the call.

Two-year-old Sophie did get a burn on her foot, but Elenus said, “It’s getting better cause we can actually touch it now.”

“I saw the officer climbing up and I heard him talking about passing Sophie down and that was scary,” Jeremiah Mendez, Sophie’s brother, said.

Jeremiah, 13, and his siblings had managed to get out and watched the amazing rescue.

Elenus said nothing was salvageable after the fire.

Temporarily, they’re in a hotel, but at some point, she’ll be starting over.

“I just pray that me and the kids have a place to call home and live and feel safe,” Elenus said.

For now, credit goes to the rescuers.

Elenus told WESH 2 News, “I’m just happy to be alive and I’m here to share my story.”

Elenus’ boss for the past five years has set up a fund to help her get back on her feet.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content