Dallas Firefighter Recognized for Saving Woman Who Was Set on Fire by Ex-Boyfriend

The suspect was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

firefighter honored dallas

A Dallas firefighter was recognized this week for his life-saving actions in rescuing a woman who was set on fire by her ex-boyfriend.

Dallas Fire-Rescue honored Firefighter Peter "Pete" Hartnett for extinguishing the flames and saving Danyeil Townzen's life last year, according to our partners KRLD.

"For Pete to put off his new fireman’s jacket, turn it inside out like an angel and smothering my flames was like putting his wings around me," Danyeil Townzen told KRLD. "If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn't be here today."

In May 2018, Hartnett responded to an aggravated assault call when he found the woman, who was doused in kerosene and covered in flames, Dallas Fire-Rescue officials said. Her ex-boyfriend set her on fire with a blow torch following an argument, KRLD reported.

Hartnett saw Townzen rolling on the ground so he jumped off the fire engine, which was still moving, and wrapped his bunker coat around her to put the flames out, Dallas Fire-Rescue said.

She was still in anguish, but was able to tell the firefighters that the man standing beside them, who seemed like someone trying to help, was actually the perpetrator, her ex-boyfriend.

The ex-boyfriend ran to his vehicle to try to flee the scene, but Hartnett chased him down and opened his door to pull him out, Dallas Fire-Rescue said. He drove off and Harnett wasn’t able to hold onto the car any longer.

The woman had burnt 75% of her body and was hospitalized in critical condition. She spent a year in the hospital and survived after overcoming insurmountable odds.

The man was eventually arrested and, in September, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The first time Hartnett saw Townzen again was during the trial.

"I couldn’t believe how good she looked," Hartnett told KRLD. "She was so sweet and she reached up to hug me and she started crying and I started bawling like a little kid. It made 33 years worth it."

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