Firefighter goes above, beyond call of duty

By Jason L. Evans

Dallas Fire-Rescue formally recognized firefighter Peter “Pete” Hartnett, and the crew riding DFR Engine 28, for his life-saving actions on the morning of Monday, May 21, 2018, while responding to an “Aggravated Assault” call. Upon arrival, Engine 28 found a woman, who had been doused with kerosene and set on fire, rolling on the ground. 

Fire Chief Dominique Artis (with members from the Command staff), firefighter Peter Hartnett and burn victim Danyeil Townzen.
Photo courtesy of DFR

Hartnett immediately jumped off the engine, while it was still in motion, and wrapped his bunker coat around the woman to put the flames out. 

Despite her level of anguish, the victim was able to tell firefighters the man standing next to them, who was originally thought to be someone who was trying to help, was actually the perpetrator. The man ran to his vehicle to flee the scene, but Hartnett chased him down and opened his door to pull him out. 

The man sped off towards the gate, with Hartnett in tow, and was able to make his escape after Hartnett was no longer able to hold on and fell to the ground. 

Though the assailant was later apprehended, and recently (in September) sentenced to life in prison, DFR immediately shifted their attention back to the victim; who was in critical condition and burned over 75 percent of her body. She was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital and ended up, after overcoming insurmountable odds, surviving.