Deputy rushes into burning Deltona home to save toddler

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DELTONA, Fla. —

A deputy is being credited with saving a 1-year-old toddler from a burning home in Deltona early Tuesday morning.

The blaze broke out at a home on Bath Street about 8 a.m.  

Before firefighters arrived, a neighbor said a woman in the home panicked and escaped with two of her children before realizing her 1-year-old niece was still inside.

“I think she was scared and forgot that she had her niece with her,” said witness Sherri Jensen. “She said that her niece was inside and they were going around the back of the house trying to find the baby."

Deputy Bryon Poteralski is being credited with going into the home and saving the child.

“It was really smoky, really thick,” said Poteralski. “We couldn't hear the baby or see the baby and it's one of those things you got to make a split-second decision."

So, Poteralski smashed the bedroom window. He said the room was filled with smoke, but he took the risk.

“Once some of the smoke came out a little bit, you know, I thought I had enough room to make it, at least try to get in the room and make some sort of attempt. I got lucky that she was there,” he said.

Poteralski said he found the child unresponsive in the play pen, so he grabbed her and handed her out the window to his sergeant.

Authorities said the child was breathing, conscious and alert when he was taken to Florida Hospital-Fish Memorial in Orange City for evaluation. She’s doing fine, officials said.

Some are calling Poteralski a hero, but he told Channel 9 he doesn't think so.

“I don't. It’s just me. I'd do it for somebody. I hope somebody would return the favor,” he said.

The state fire marshal's office investigators said this fire was caused by something electrical.