This week, the American Press would like to highlight the courageous efforts of Lake Charles Police Officer Brennan Bernat.
On Feb. 17, during this year’s historic winter weather event, Bernat displayed incredible courage and heroism when he saved the life of a motorist involved in a crash near Fruge and Albert streets in Lake Charles.
As Bernat arrived at the scene of the crash, he found the vehicle had struck a building and had caught fire.
“I approached the vehicle and the driver appeared to be confused and disoriented, unaware of what was going on. He had a laceration on his head and coupled with the confusion he seemed to be experiencing, I was concerned about a possible brain injury,” Bernat said.
At that moment, Bernat said he noticed the flames had reached the dashboard inside the vehicle — and he knew he had to act.
“All I could think of in that moment was the urgent need to get him out and to safety. There was no time to think about my own safety. I just knew I had to get him out, so that is what I did,” he said.
Bernat was able to get the driver to safety just moments before the front compartment of the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames.
Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said that Bernat’s actions during the incident are a testament to his dedication to selflessly serving the community. “We want to take this opportunity to recognize him for his bravery and the courage he displayed as he put his own life at risk to save another,” Caldwell said.
Bernat has since received a commendation from Caldwell for his bravery that day, and was formally recognized by Mayor Nic Hunter and the Lake Charles City Council.