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TAYLORSVILLE — It's never a "routine day" in the life of an emergency first responder. Unified police officer Jared Cardon learned that firsthand at a house fire Tuesday night.
Cardon is the father of three boys by day, but by night he's a traffic investigator for the Unified Police Department.
"My days are more defined by the accidents I do," Cardon said.
Cardon and another another officer were the first to arrive on scene.
"As I rounded the corner onto the street, you could just see black smoke pouring into the sky," Cardon said. "Flames were coming out of all the windows, pouring smoke."
He said a neighbor approached him with frightening information.
"He said, 'there's a man in this room. He went into this room and hasn't come out,'" Cardon recalled.
Knowing there was not time to waste, Cardon said he worked his way "over into the corner of the room, and there he was."
He found a man nearly unconscious. The man later told investigators he believed his grandchildren were in the home and was frantically trying to find them.
"I grabbed hold of him, and we turned to go find our way out," Cardon said.
But on their way out, Cardon made another discovery.
"I thought, 'What are the chances?' So I picked it up, a little furry thing, and grabbed hold of it."
It was a lucky house cat who probably used up one of its nine lives.
The Unified Police Department posted about Cardon's bravery on its Facebook page. People left comments calling him a hero — but that's a word Cardon shies away from.
"What if those had been my kids in the home?" he questioned. "(I know) how much I would want someone to help them."
Cardon said experiences like the one he had Tuesday are the reasons he became a police officer.
"This is what we get into this profession to do; to help people however we can," he said.