SKOWHEGAN — Police Officer Tim Williams wouldn’t call himself a hero, saying he was just doing his job when he crawled on his belly through thick smoke into a burning mobile home Friday night to rescue a young woman and her 4-year-old son.

Williams, 51, said he got a call about the fire and was the first one to arrive at what would become a scene of tragedy and hope. He said he entered the burning house without thought and without fear for his own well being.

He first saw Andrea Curtis, 24, then he said he saw her son, Tyler Curtis-Benson.

“I started pulling — pulling the person out, and as I was pulling the person out, it got to the point where I could see the baby on top of the mother,” Williams said in an emotional interview Monday. “They were not moving. They were not moving at all.”

He said he pulled the mother and son out onto the deck of the trailer at 279 North Ave. and began performing CPR, all the while on his radio calling for rescue personnel who arrived within minutes. He said Tyler began breathing on his own while Curtis was still gasping for air as he commissioned neighbors to help him get the mother and son away from the building and into some fresh air.

He said he could see flames and heavy smoke coming out of the home. Williams himself would later be taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. He was released at about 3 a.m.


“The only thing I could think of was to try to get them out as soon as possible,” he said Monday in civilian clothes at the fire station. “I had to get them out. That was the only thing on my mind. I didn’t think of anything else. I got on my belly to crawl in — that’s how thick the smoke was.”

Williams said neighbors reported hearing “a pop, then a scream” and Curtis apparently attempted to get her son and escape, then collapsed.

He administered CPR first on the boy, then on the mom, both of whom were motionless. When Tyler started breathing, “it was a feeling of joy,” Williams said.

Williams said friends and family members thanked him over and over for saving two lives that night.

Skowhegan Police Chief Don Bolduc said he considers what Williams did to be “amazing times two.”

“He initially made access to the trailer, but was pushed back by smoke and heat,” Bolduc said. “His second approach was much lower, and he could see through the smoke the silhouette of a body. He chose to go in and save that person and that is when he discovered there were two. For him to save them both and revive them on his own was simply amazing.


“A situation like this is a physical and emotional challenge for anyone,” Bolduc continued. “Without a doubt, this is one of the most difficult scenes I’ve responded to.”

Williams said it was all in a day’s work.

“Giving everything that happened, I wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “Would I do it again today? Yeah, I would. I was just an officer doing his job, day in and day out. I believe any one of us would have done the same thing if they were given the opportunity.”

Williams said he called his fiancé to apologize. “I said I’m sorry, I could have died,” he said. “I asked her would she forgive me. She said yes.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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