HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Police Department patrolmen Heath Reisinger and Mark Johnson are known to stick together, and that didn't change when they came across a home engulfed in smoke while on what would have been a normal night shift patrol.
It was around midnight on April 28 when the patrolmen were following one another down S.C. 548. All of the sudden, one of the patrol cars disappeared into a cloud of thick smoke.
"So, I jammed on my brakes and he jammed on his brakes, we turned on our lights, and just jumped out and ran across the road," Reisinger said.
That's when they saw smoke coming from the top of the home. Even though most usually assume firefighters would be the ones rushing toward a fire, these officers didn't think twice about doing the same.
Johnson he bent down when he got to the front door because the smoke was just too heavy.
"And he got to the door and I could hear him coughing, and I told him to get away from the front door and we started beating on the side of the house," Reisinger said.
It's what Johnson saw through the crack of the door that made him want to jump into action. He was able to see toys and a bicycle.
"I was thinking about my kids, and what if it was my kids in the house," Johnson said. "There was no hesitation at all. If I heard someone screaming, I would have went in. I would have said a little prayer and I would have went in."
As it turned out, no one was in the home. Still, that didn't change how the two officers felt about it, saying they'd do it all over again if they had to.
"I mean, that would be a terrible excuse, 'I'm not a firefighter so that's why I didn't do it,' and then cost somebody their life," Reisinger said. "That would be a terrible excuse to me."
When Horry County Fire Rescue got to the scene, they told the patrolmen they did find suspicious materials and the fire is still being investigated as an arson.
As for these two officers, they continue to have each other's backs, one patrol at a time.