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West Fargo officers awarded for rescuing apartment fire victim

West Fargo Police Chief Heith Janke awards Officer David Todd with the Medal of Valor Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the department's annual banquet. Todd is flanked by his mother,Yvette, and father, David Todd, Fargo police chief. Special to The Forum 1 / 3
Officer David Todd2 / 3
Officer Brock Ackerman3 / 3

West Fargo Officers risked their lives to save the victim of a February apartment fire, who later died in the hospital.

Those efforts were recognized with the first-ever Medal of Valor at the West Fargo Police Department's annual awards banquet April 9. Awards were granted to officers Brock Ackerman and David Todd, son of Fargo Police Chief David Todd.

"Getting the award was a surprise and definitely a great honor," Todd told The Forum in a phone interview.

Ackerman was unavailable for an interview and wasn't in attendance at the banquet because he is currently in K-9 training in Iowa.

Todd shared what happened when responding to the fire around 5:30 a.m. Feb. 28. Witnesses told Todd upon arrival that someone was yelling from inside the apartment, 1031 1st St.

"I kicked the door in and no one answered me when I was calling back out to him. I tried going in alone but waited for Officer Ackerman," Todd said. "We didn't really think too much. We went in and did what we had to do."

Both officers crawled into the apartment to find the victim and pulled him out the door. They performed CPR, but Todd said the victim never gained consciousness.

Another officer, Matthew Oldham, assisted in getting all three out of the apartment. Oldham was also awarded a commendable service award for his actions that morning.

"It was a team effort to get it all done," Todd added.

The Pioneer reported the cause of the fire being accidental and related to "smoking materials." While West Fargo officials said that the victim was taken to a hospital in Hennepin County, no details on his condition were shared.

It wasn't until the police department shared in a news release Thursday, April 11, about the awards that it became known the victim died sometime after the fire. However, West Fargo officials declined to release the victim's identity because the incident remains under investigation.