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9-year-old rescued from burning home meets deputies who saved his life

Owen Ares' family members said this was a moment he will never forget.

TAMPA, Fla. — Owen Ares, the 9-year-old boy rescued from a burning home in Seffner, finally got to meet the two deputies who saved his life.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Alex Maldonado and Deputy Kevin Reich received the Life-Saving Award at HCSO’s Second Quarter Awards Ceremony.

The two deputies responded to a call about a home fully engulfed in flames on May 19th. When they got there, they learned the 9-year-old was trapped inside the home. 

“When you get there and you learn that someone is still inside of a house that is pretty much completely engulfed in flames that scenario changes completely. The only goal is to get that person out of the house," Reich said.

The deputies were able to break windows, find Owen and quickly pull him out to safety. 

Owen spent weeks in the hospital recovering after the incident. He was on a ventilator and in the ICU for several days after being rescued. His mom said they were afraid he wasn’t going to pull through.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

Each day, Owen started doing better and better. He started to talk again and slowly started to walk again. This week, he was released from the hospital and is now home with his loved ones.

Owen said the two deputies who saved him are his heroes. He was finally able to hug them and tell them "thank you" in person ahead of Wednesday's ceremony. 

“We see a lot in this job and happy ending stories like this are kinda far and few between," Reich said. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

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