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Springettsbury Twp. Police honor 5 officers for heroism, investigative skills

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Two Springettsbury Township police officers who saved a woman from a smoke-filled burning home last summer are among five officers recognized for their accomplishments.

Officers Matthew Berry and Brett Fishel were the first to arrive at the house fire in the 2500 block of Fairway Drive about 10:45 p.m. July 3, 2019. That portion of the road is in York Township, just over the township line, and Springettsbury officers were called there to assist York Area Regional police officers, who were on their way but not as close, police said.

Inside the home, a woman was trapped in her second-floor bedroom, according to Springettsbury Police Lt. Tony Beam, who was later able to watch body camera footage of the rescue.

Springettsbury Township Police Officer Matthew Berry

"They kicked the front door in and were confronted by dark, heavy smoke," Beam said, and they started calling out to the trapped woman because it was dark inside. "They had to back out, regain their composure and go back in."

As Fishel and Berry — both already suffering from smoke inhalation — were outside breathing fresh air, York Area Regional Police Officer Stephanie Phillips arrived and all three went back into the burning home together, Beam said.

They made it up to the second floor, where the trio found the woman and guided her outside to a waiting ambulance crew, according to the lieutenant. By that time, firefighters had arrived to put out the blaze.

The officers were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, police said.

"All three of them risked their lives," Beam told The York Dispatch.

Springettsbury Township Police Officer Brett Fishel

Springettsbury Township Police honored Berry and Fishel earlier this month with awards of merit. Fishel is the son of Red Lion-area District Judge John H. Fishel, himself a retired police officer.

York Area Regional Police previously honored Phillips for the rescue.

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Seized pound of meth: Also honored was township Officer Adam Schrift, who received a chief's commendation for his work in busting two alleged methamphetamine dealers and keeping more than a pound of meth from hitting the streets of Springettsbury Township.

Springettsbury Township Police Officer Adam Schrift

Acting on tips received in late February, Schrift started investigating the person, who lived in the 2800 block of Sheridan Road, police said.

Schrift uncovered enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant and, on March 6, he and other Springettsbury officers raided the home with assistance from the York County Drug Task Force, Beam said.

Seized during the raid were more than a pound of meth, cash, marijuana and drug-packaging materials, police said. Officers arrested two people who remain charged with felony drug possession with intent to deliver, police said.

Police praised Schrift's hard work and persistence in going after the alleged dealers as well as his "keen investigative skills."

Springettsbury Township Police Sgt. Stefan Kochansky

Captured bank robber: The department awarded Sgt. Stefan Kochansky and Beam with letters of commendation for capturing a man minutes after he allegedly held up a Springettsbury bank.

Beam said he was merely at the right place at the right time, and that it was Kochansky who spotted the man.

Police were called to First National Bank on Mount Zion Road about 10:15 a.m. Jan. 29 after a man threatening to have a gun robbed it.

Kochansky and Beam were in a patrol car and searched behind several businesses along Whiteford Road, which is when Kochansky spotted the alleged robber, police said.

"He was down over a bank, hiding in a ditch," Beam said.

Springettsbury Township Police Lt. Tony Beam

After arresting the man, Kochansky and Beam recovered and returned nearly $3,000 that had been stolen from the bank, police said.

Both supervisors received letters of commendation.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.