Nosy Officer

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 15, 2010

‘Nosy’ police officer likely saved family

By John Howell

Against a backdrop of mourning over the loss of its mayor, Como had good news to celebrate Wednesday.

Jessica Foster and her three-year-old son, Kenyatti, were alive and well, thanks to a Como police officer who describes himself as “naturally nosy.”

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“We got toned out for a house on Deere Street,” Como volunteer fireman Bill Wallace said. When firemen arrived, they found the home’s electrical meter on fire.

“Smoke was just boiling out of that house,” Wallace said.

Firemen quickly suppressed the fire, saving the cypress frame structure, because the fire had been spotted early by Como policeman Fred Boskey, Wallace said when he contacted the newspaper.

Como Fire Chief Randy Perkins agreed: “He really had to be on his toes and looking at four o’clock in the morning,”

When firemen arrived, not only did they find the meter fire in an early stage, they found the home’s occupants tucked safely in Boskey’s police car.

Boskey said that he had been driving in the vicinity of the Deere Street home when he noticed a blue, flashing light similar to a welder’s arc.

“I knew there couldn’t be anybody out there welding at 4 a.m.,” he said. Further investigation led him to the home’s electrical meter that by then “had melted and started a fire at the side of the house.”

As he notified the fire department, Boskey said that he saw a car parked at the house and started knocking on the door.

“The house was filling up with smoke,” the policeman said, but initially he got no answer.

The mother and her son were sleeping in a room that was on the opposite side of the house from the electric meter, Perkins said. Finally, the mother awoke and brought her son out. Boskey put them in his patrol car against the chilly night, which is where they were when firemen arrived, Wallace said.

Wallace said that the house is out of the way and not easily spotted from the street. Perkins said that the electric meter where the fire started was on the opposite side of the house from the policeman’s approach, meaning that blue flashes Boskey noticed were apparently reflected.

“He pretty well saved those peoples’ lives,” Perkins said.

“The fire department did a marvelous job,” Boskey added.

Wallace and Perkins said that the fire was probably within five minutes of fully engulfing the structure.

The Fosters were relocated to the nearby home of a relative, the police officer said.