Citation for Valor
Somerset Police have announced that two of their officers are being recognized for their actions in a recent tragedy that occurred in Somerseton October 14, 2004. A house fire at 446 W. Main St., Somerset Borough, resulted in the death of four year old Jimmy Dale Thebeau (pronounced Tee-bow).
Police and Somerset Borough Volunteer Fire Company were dispatched to the W. Main St. duplex at approximately 11:55 am the day of the fire. Somerset Police Officers Ruth Beckner and Charles Santa were the first to arrive on scene and entered the burning structure in an attempt to rescue the four year old. They had been advised by the child’s mother, Sheralyn Reynolds, that Jimmy was believed to be in an upstairs bedroom. The officers made their way to the second floor but could not gain entry into the bedroom due to the severe heat, smoke and flames of the fire. Somerset Firefighters arrived on scene shortly afterward and, after battling the fully involved fire for twenty minutes, were able to make entry into the bedroom and recover the body of the child.
Beckner and Santa will each be awarded a citation for valor. In announcing the citations, Chief Randy Cox noted that, “Both officers risked their safety and their lives in attempting to rescue the child. They were not simply doing their jobs, they were going above and beyond the call of duty. While the incident is one of tragedy, the Borough and the Department are honored to recognize the selfless efforts of Officers Beckner and Santa. I am sure the citizens of the community join in the sense of pride and gratitude that exists in having these two officers as members of the Somerset Police Department.