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Deputies reunite with boy they saved from burning home in Seffner

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two deputies who rescued a child from a burning home in Seffner were reunited with the boy on Wednesday for the first time since he left the hospital.

On May 19, Deputy Alex Maldonado and Deputy Kevin Reich responded to a home that was fully engulfed in flames, and learned a 9-year-old boy was trapped inside. The deputies were able to break windows, locate the child, and quickly pull him out of the home to safety.

The deputies reunited with the boy on Wednesday and answered questions from reporters.

Owen said he remembered the fire and trying to break out his window.

“I tried to break it with my palm but I couldn’t do that,” Owen said. “I remember the fire alarm going off. And the smoke.”

“When you learn that somebody is still inside of a house that is pretty much engulfed in flames, that scenario changes completely. And you have to go into kind of a mode of getting yourself collected and making sure the only goal is get that person out of that house,” Deputy Kevin Reich said. “Once we finally did get him out, it’s kind of a sense of relief briefly, but then obviously he had a little bit of time he had to recover in the hospital. So now that he’s here it’s awesome.  It’s an awesome feeling. We see a lot in this job but happy ending stories like this are kind of far and few between.”

“It feels good to see him here, up, walking around, smiling, pretty much a full recovery in a matter of weeks,” Deputy Alexander Maldonado said.

Shortly after the reunion, Owen helped Sheriff Chad Chronister present the Life Saving Award to the two deputies at the Second Quarter Awards Ceremony at the Faulkenburg Road Jail.

“Heroic actions and steadfast service to our community are achievements that deserve to be celebrated, and this is our chance to say thank you to those who have played a major role in making Hillsborough County an excellent place to live,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

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