Kirkland Patrolman Shawn Occhipinti

Kirkland officer saves woman, pet dog from house fire

Published Nov 7, 2018 at 4:00pm

CLINTON — The call to county 9-1-1 came over the police scanner for a structure fire on Fountain Street, and Officer Shawn Occhipinti was on duty in the area last Saturday morning.

With every Kirkland Police patrol car equipped with a fire extinguisher, Occhipinti said he responded to the house, grabbed the extinguisher and quickly made his way to the front door.

“The call came in as a stove fire and it was spreading,” the patrolman said. “I was close by, so I responded fairly quickly.”

When he walked up to the house, “I could hear the smoke alarms going off,” Occhipinti said.

“I was able to open the door and I found Mrs. Recchio. I asked her if anyone else was in the house, and she said it was just her and the dog. I ordered her out of the house and I made sure the dog got out with her too,” he added.

After he got homeowner Kaitlyn Recchio out, Occhipinti said he found smoke billowing from the sides of the oven. The stove was on the self-clean cycle, so the door was locked, he said.

“I had to kick the door to release the lock, and at that time the door was starting to glow — it was that hot,” he said. “It actually took me 2-3 tries. It was a gas oven, so it could have went really bad, really quick.”

Occhipinti took the fire extinguisher he brought in with him and quelled most the flames until members of Clinton Fire Department arrived.

They extinguished the remainder of the fire and used equipment to make sure flames and hot spots didn’t spread into the nearby walls, the patrolman

Being the second fire he has helped put out in his 13 years with Kirkland Police, the first occurring on Stebbins Drive, the officer joked it was just another day on the job. Occhipinti, who now resides in Clinton, was born and raised in Rome.