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Farmington resident, officers recognized for lifesaving actions

Arik Reger, left, shakes hands with neighbor Jason Rose Monday. Rose saved Reger's life in November.

It was just after 8 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2012, when Farmington resident Jason Rose saved Arik Reger's life. On Monday, Rose's quick thinking and heroic actions were recognized with the Farmington Police Department's Citizens Valor Award.

The two men lived in the same neighborhood. Reger worked overnight hours, and was fast asleep in his bed at the house he rented with a brother and friend on the 18800 block of Eaglewood Drive in Farmington. Meanwhile, across the street, Rose had just poured himself a cup of coffee and turned to look out his window.

That's when Rose saw the front of the house down the block completely engulfed in flames. With little thought, he asked his mother to keep an eye on his son, and ran across the street to the burning house. Seeing two cars in the attached garage, Rose pounded on the door.

Rose got no answer. He peered through the entryway window, and could see the house was filling with smoke. That's when he realized he'd have to kick in the door and get inside.

"Every single bell and whistle thing said 'this is the wrong thing to do. You're kicking in somebody's door,'" Rose said, "but I'm like, I have to do it."

The idea of running into a burning building somehow didn't cause him pause as much as the idea of kicking in a neighbor's front door.

"You're standing at somebody else's front door and you're about to kick it in. I mean, that didn't feel normal by any means, but beyond that, I don't know. I've received training in other facets of my life, so the only surreal thing to me was kicking the door down," Rose said. "I was almost dumbfounded, standing there in the entryway. Like, wow, it worked."

Once inside, Rose ran through the upper and lower levels of the house, knocking on doors and yelling out. The noise woke Reger, who admits he was confused to find a stranger in his home.

"To be honest, for a few minutes I didn't really know what was happening. I didn't know why there was somebody in my house. I was freshly asleep, I was shocked really. When he came in, it was like, 'who's this?' and when he explained the house was on fire, I couldn't fathom it." Reger said. "I was kind of mad. I actually had to open the garage door. It probably wasn't a good idea to feed oxygen to the fire, but it was just kind of a second-nature action. I have to know for myself."

Rose exited the house just as Farmington police sergeant Jim Murphy arrived at the scene. He gave Murphy a statement, then left to go to work. Reger, meanwhile, tried to find a pet dog and cat before Murphy convinced him to leave the burning house.

Both animals were rescued.

Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist was at the fire that morning in November. The chief was impressed by Rose's quick thinking back then, and shared his appreciation by giving Rose the Citizens Valor Award during the March 18 Farmington City Council meeting.

"It is my opinion that if Mr. Rose had not done that, we would have had a different outcome," Lindquist said.

Reger and his parents were at the council meeting, as well, to thank Rose.

Life Saving Award

Farmington police officer Travis Sundvall and his K9 partner Bosco also received the FPD Life Saving Award Monday night.

According to Lindquist, on Feb. 7, somewhere around 2 a.m., a man called the Dakota County Communications Center threatening to commit suicide. The DCC was able to locate him through his cell phone, and put the call out for a K9 unit to assist in finding the man before he could cause himself harm.

The man was at Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville. Sundvall and Bosco arrived at the park and found the man's car. Bosco picked up the man's scent, and followed it into the woods, where they found the man.

"They found the individual in time to start life-saving procedures and were able to bring him back, prior to the arrival of the ambulance," Lindquist said. "Without the K9 and Officer Sundvall, there is no doubt this would have ended differently."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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