Manitowoc Police Department
At 7:45pm, November 25, 2000, a call came into the Manitowoc Fire and Police Departments for a report of a house fire on Cleveland Avenue. While enroute, dispatch announced that a woman was inside the burning home but would not leave until her dog was found. As emergency personnel rushed to the scene, the phone fell silent. Manitowoc Police Officer David McCue arrived first to the burning home and reported there was thick smoke and flames coming from the downstairs level extending up to the second floor.
Officer McCue went around the outside of the home looking for the missing woman. He came upon the back door and was able to see her lying on the kitchen floor, under the heavy smoke layer. Officer McCue then made the decision that he would go inside and try to get her out. He first took a large breath, held it, and then proceeded to crawl under the smoke. With great effort, he was able to pull the unconscious woman outside onto the back deck where they were met by a fellow police officer, who helped carry her to a safe place away from the burning building.
The victim was then attended to by Manitowoc Paramedics and regained consciousness. Her pet dog, Willie, fled the home as officer McCue opened the door and was later caught and found to be in good health.
Officer David McCue is a past volunteer firefighter and is well aware of the dangers he faced during this rescue, but he was also aware of the danger Ms. Pieschel was in and that a moment’s hesitation could cost her life.
According to the words of the Manitowoc Fire Chief, “… Due to the intensity of the fire, the victim, Susan Pieschel, would have surely perished had you not put yourself at risk to save her…”