HICKORY, N.C. (WJZY) — For most, it’s a hypothetical question: “Would you run into a burning building?”
“Everybody says they’ll do it,” said Hickory Police Officer Dylan Cornett. “But, you don’t know even in yourself if you’ll do it.”
But there’s a reason so many people got together on Thursday to honor Cornett, who answered the question in real life.
On May 1, 2022, Cornett drove his patrol car near 2nd Ave S.W. in Hickory when he thought he saw a grass fire. But a second look had him running out of his car and to a mobile home engulfed in flames.
“If you held your hand out that far, you couldn’t see it. There was so much smoke,” Cornett recalled.
Running into the home, Dylan said he found a 12-year-old girl. He immediately got her out and took her to his car.
“I was like, ‘Is there anybody else in the house?'” Dylan said.
Then, the 12-year-old girl told him another nine-year-old girl was still inside.
“As soon as you go in the door there, you couldn’t see. The heat was intense,” Cornett said.
The officer rescued both girls a few minutes before the mobile home was gone.
On Thursday, Dylan was presented with the “Heroism Award” from N.C. Commissioner of Insurance and N.C. State Fire Marshal for his efforts in saving the two girls.
“When he was telling me this story, it brought me to tears. (He said) the first thing I thought when I heard that little girl’s voice was my own daughter,” Blynda Cornett, Dylan’s wife, said.
Dylan Cornett said it was his duty as an officer– and a dad to rescue the girls.
“I felt like it was my job,” Dylan Cornett said.
As for whether or not what he did was heroic, that’s an easy and obvious answer.
“He said, ‘I knew the risk of my own life, I had to save her.’ It was very touching. It was a hard phone call to get,'” Blynda Cornett said.