Off-Duty State Trooper Rescues Residents from Burning Home


On the morning of Saturday, Jan. 2, off-duty Trooper Jonathan Gouge was traveling on Eldred Street in the town of Valdese when he noticed heavy smoke and flames shooting from a second floor home.

The two-year veteran, without hesitation, stopped his personal vehicle and immediately ran towards the burning residence. After briefly speaking with a nearby neighbor, he was advised that someone was still inside the home. With fire and rescue still in route, Gouge broke a window to unlock a door and went into the house. Despite heavy smoke and flames, he was able to locate and safely remove two residents and several pets from the home before it became fully engulfed.

“His quick actions and heroism unquestionably kept two people from dying as a result of the fire and smoke,” said Chief Charles Watts of the Valdese Fire Department.

Trooper Gouge is currently assigned to the Morganton Troop F, District 1, State Highway Patrol Office.

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