Stephen Harder

A fire broke out in the early morning hours of Jan. 10, 2023, in the Quincy, Washington, home of a 67-year-old woman who suffered from long-term illnesses and utilized home oxygen. The woman was unresponsive on the kitchen floor of her one-story house after a fire ignited in the living room, where there were oxygen cylinders. Her daughter retreated outside, called 911, and told the dispatcher that her mother remained inside. Before firefighters responded, on-duty police officer Stephen Harder, 38, from Quincy, and an accompanying detective, arrived on the scene and saw smoke issuing from the house. Harder, who was a former firefighter, opened the front door and saw flames in the living room. He and the detective went to the rear door of the house and opened it to smoke filling a hallway from the ceiling to a point about 18 inches off the floor. Harder and the detective crawled along the narrow hallway and turned into the kitchen. He found the woman unresponsive on the ground with the flames about 10 feet away. He grabbed her and pulled her to him. Crawling backward with her, he entered the hallway. The detective by then had returned to the rear porch for fresh air after she was overcome by the smoke. Harder pulled the woman to the doorway, where he was helped by the detective to carry the woman from the house. Outside, the woman was revived, and she was taken to a hospital. Harder and the detective both inhaled smoke but were medically cleared at a hospital.