“He (Burke) was very calm. Just laying the bed, and his whole body was engulfed in flames. No screaming, no nothing. It was very bizarre,” Vassar said.
Tucker and Vassar, along with Officers Charles Wolff and Adam Wood, dragged Burke out of the mobile home, patting him down in an effort to put out the fire.
“When we got him out of the house, he talked to us like nothing had ever happened. He was apologetic,” Vassar said. “He did admit that he was trying to kill himself, obviously. But he apologized to us for putting us in the position he put us in. No sign of being in pain whatsoever.”
Burke was charged with second-degree arson, first-degree reckless endangerment and three counts of second-degree criminal mischief, all felonies.
Vassar left to start his shift, and we joined Cordick and departed from the station in the SUV.
Nine cars were on patrol that night.
Cordick has been a City Police officer since 2011 and worked in law enforcement before that.
As we cruised from one end of the city to the other, everything appeared calm and quiet, apart from the commotion downtown near the bars.
Cordick described the relative calm as “unusual for a Friday.”
Our first traffic stop was on North Catherine Street a few minutes after 11 p.m.
A dark-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee made an illegal turn from Court Street onto North Catherine Street.
The young woman driving didn’t have a license and was apparently receiving driving lessons from another woman in the car with her, Cordick said.
He entered the driver’s information into the patrol-car computer and selected a court date to go with her ticket.
The computers transmit traffic-ticket information directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles.