Rockdale County Deputy Timothy Kutsch receives the Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Commendation from Sheriff Eric Levett Friday afternoon. Kutsch is credited with saving the lives of six people who were inside a burning personal care home in Walton County. Looking on is Watch Commander Tom Brewer. Kutsch joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2009 as a detention deputy. He has been a certified deputy since 2012. (Staff Photo: Alice Queen)
CONYERS — A Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office deputy was honored Friday for his efforts to save six people from a burning house Thursday night.
Deputy Timothy Kutsch received the Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Commendation for his heroic actions to save six elderly people from a burning personal care home in Walton County.
Kutsch, who sustained a cut to his arm that required eight to 10 stitches, was back at work Friday. He said he was surprised at the honor that was presented to him at shift change Friday afternoon. When asked why he risked his own safety to help the people in the house, Kutsch was unassuming.
“Because I knew there were people in there who needed help,” he said. “I’ve always been the kind of person to help people or try to help people … they needed help, and I tried to help them.”
Kutsch, who has been with the RCSO since 2009, said he was driving to his home in Walton County shortly before midnight Thursday when he saw thick smoke and came upon a house that was engulfed in flames.
Kutsch said he drove up to the house and was immediately met by a woman who said there were six elderly people still inside the house. Kutsch said he called for assistance and then went to see what he could do.
“I went to the first window and I broke it out, and I saw there was a lady at the base of the window … I was yelling to her, she was unconscious,” Kutsch said. “I was trying to grab her and grab her.”
Kutsch said a man inside the house helped him grasp the woman’s arms and he was able to pull her to safety.
In the process, Kutsch said he cut his arm on the broken glass. The cut was bleeding profusely, and he went to his car to get some rags to staunch the flow of blood. By that time the other man was able to shepherd the other residents out of the house.
In nominating Kutsch for the commendation, Chief Deputy Scott Freeman said the deputy’s actions demonstrated his commitment to his oath to protect and serve and to save lives.
“Even though he was off duty and out of Rockdale County, he was still committed, and without hesitation he acted to ensure that the residents were evacuated,” Freeman said.
“No doubt the injury that he has on his right arm will leave a small scar, but certainly it is a scar that will memorialize forever the lives that you saved yesterday afternoon,” Freeman added. “And that no one can ever take away from you.”
Sheriff Eric Levett presented the commendation to Kutsch, thanking him for his dedication and courage.
“You didn’t think about yourself; you didn’t think about going home to your family; you thought about helping someone else,” Levett said.
Kutsch said he thought the commendation was “pretty cool,” but was still unimpressed with his accomplishment.
“I just really didn’t do anything else other than what we are trained to do,” Kutsch said. “I really didn’t think anything about it.”
Instead, he said, his admiration was for the firefighters at the scene.
“They’re the real heroes,” he said. “They’re the ones that went in there.”