Porter County

Officers' Heroic Actions Following NW Indiana Natural Gas Explosion Caught on Camera

A police officer in Porter County has been awarded the department’s Medal of Honor after his heroic actions following a natural gas explosion, which were captured in an incredible video from his body camera.

Porter County Police Lt. Kevin Van Kley received the distinction on Monday from Sheriff David Reynolds. According to the department, Van Kley is just the third officer to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism.

Sgt. Michael Piazza and Sgt. Dave Murray, both of whom responded to the fire scene, also received Life Saving Awards for their role in the rescues.

The explosion occurred on Sept. 10, 2020, according to authorities. A family was trapped inside of the home, which had collapsed after the explosion, and a fire can still be seen raging in the footage captured at the scene.

Van Kley, arriving on the scene with several other officers, immediately sprang into action. A person in the video can be heard shouting “there’s a baby!” and Van Kley ran to a corner of the home.

The footage then captures the lieutenant helping to move debris and to dig the young child out of the debris.

“Here baby, here baby,” he can be heard saying.

After the young girl was saved from the wreckage, Van Kley runs to another part of the house, asking a fellow first responder to help a woman move further away from the flames and the heat of the burning structure in the process.

Once at the second location, Van Kley and several other first responders and private citizens helped to lift up the roof of the structure, allowing a woman to crawl her way out of the building.

In all, seven people were hurt in the explosion, according to authorities, but Van Kley and his fellow officers were praised for their heroic actions, which potentially saved multiple lives.

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