SEBRING - For the second time in nine years, Sebring Police Officer Sean 'Bueford has received recognition for saving the life of someone who apparently did not want to be saved.
Sebring Mayor George Hensley and other members the Sebring City Council recognized 'Bueford Tuesday night for on Sept. 16 saving the life of a man who had hanged himself on a tree. Nine years earlier 'Bueford rescued a woman from a burning house, although initially when he tried to save her, she slammed the front door in his face.
In the most recent incident, 'Bueford said he was one of several officers responding to a domestic call in the Crescent Beach area. He said they were looking for a man when he saw the man hanging from tree.
"He wasn't moving at all," 'Bueford said, adding that he didn't know whether the man was alive.
'Bueford said he initially lifted the man up and then cut the rope. After the man was on the ground, he said, he loosened the rope around the man's neck.
Then he started giving chest compressions to the man, he said.
"After a minute, he started coughing and breathing," 'Bueford said. The man was then able to talk, 'Bueford said.
The man was taken to a local hospital. 'Bueford said he subsequently learned the man was discharged from the hospital.
'Bueford said he does not know how much time elapsed between the time he started looking for the man and when the man hung himself. He said he and other officers had searched for at least 15 minutes.
The outcome would have likely been different and tragic if he or other officers had found the man five to 10 minutes later, 'Bueford said.
Lt. Bruce Crum, patrol division commander, nominated 'Bueford for the commendation he received.
"Officer 'Bueford took swift action in this incident, which resulted with a life being saved," Krum wrote in a letter of commendation. I commend Officer 'Bueford for a job well done. He truly is one of Sebring's finest."
Sebring Police Chief Thomas Dettman said that few officers received such recognition at City Council meetings over the years, yet alone twice.
The last time 'Bueford got recognition for saving a life was on May 17, 2004, when 'Bueford's son, James, saw flames coming from a residence on Cleveland Road, according to a nomination document for recognition.
Sean 'Bueford recalled that the house was several houses down the street from his residence, but he did not know who lived there.
The nomination document said that Sean 'Bueford, who was a police dispatcher at the time, rushed to the house and was told no one was inside. Despite that he looked through windows and saw a woman inside, the document said.
Despite smoke and flames the woman wasn't aware the house was burning, the document said.
After seeing the woman, 'Bueford opened the door of the house and "was confronted by Mrs. (Marsha) Bush, who slammed the door in his face, as she did not know this man and did not know her house was on fire," the document said. "Sean then broke the door open and went in to carry Mrs. Bush to safety."