A New Jersey State Trooper is being lauded today for saving the life of a vagrant from a burning abandoned house in Burlington County.
Trooper Brian Travinski was dispatched Saturday morning for a report of a blaze at a two-story house in Hainesport Township. Travinski arrived at the home on 400 block of Washington Street shortly before 8 a.m. as smoke billowed from the boarded-up building.
Travinski scouted the perimeter and discovered a broken window. Concerned there might be someone inside, Travinski forced his way through the front door. He was greeted by flames and waist-deep smoke. Finding no one on the ground floor, Travinski climbed the stairs and found Eric Zeppenfeld, 33, sleeping on the second floor as the blaze burned below. Travinski woke Zeppenfeld, escorted him from the house, and immediately went to search for other people, a state police spokesman said.
Hainesport firefighters arrived minutes later and extinguished the fire. Zeppenfeld was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespass. He was taken to Burlington County Jail on $5,000 bail.