‘He’s a hero’: North Liberty police officer rescues 2 from ice cream shop fire

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 6:32 PM EST
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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ind. (WNDU) - Officials are still looking for the cause of a fire of a North Liberty ice cream shop over the weekend.

No one was injured in the fire that saw seven departments respond; even South Bend brought out a ladder truck. But the fire chief in town says a police officer is a hero for what he did before crews got on scene Saturday.

“It smelled like a camp fire, so he kind of just drove around town a little bit, and then he came back through and that’s when he saw smoke coming from the eaves, saw the fire on the back of the building,” recalled Liberty Fire Chief Bob Litteral.

Fire Chief Litteral says that’s when the North Liberty police officer went into action, a little after midnight on Saturday, going to the second story of the building occupied by Mercedeze Rain Ice Cream and Chocolate on the ground floor.

The officer heard working smoke alarms, and then rescued two people from an upstairs apartment, a man and a woman believed to be his mother.

“[The] officer ended up having to carry her down the steps because she was already disoriented from the little bit of smoke that was in the apartment already,” Fire Chief Litteral explained.

This rescue all happened before crews even arrived; at least 50 firefights from seven departments worked to put the fire out over the course of six hours. By Chief Litteral’s estimation, the worst he’s responded to in his time in Liberty Township.

“I’ve been chief six years, and that was the biggest, biggest fire I’ve been a part of in town,” Chief Litteral said.

A fire that’s damaged the sweets shop that had only been in business a year or so, he believes.

“Pretty devastating for her,” Chief Litteral said.

But gratitude for the North Liberty police officer who saved two people in the upstairs apartment.

“He’s a hero. I mean, he did save two people before we got there. It’s a good thing,” Chief Litteral finished.

No word yet if the building can be salvaged; Chief Litteral said he learned it’s possibly the oldest one in North Liberty. The State Marshal is expected to visit at some point Monday to investigate and see what could have possibly caused the fire.