THORNTON, Colo. – A police officer saved a handicapped woman from her burning home, and a Thornton man wants to thank the officer who risked his life to save his mother.

James Rockwell says the call of his mother’s trailer catching fire, sending her to the hospital, caught him off guard last week.

After talking to first responders, he learned Thornton police officer Ryan Thornton arrived on scene within a minute of getting the call and was able to rush inside, Fox 31 reported.

“He was there and willing to put his life on the line,” Rockwell said. “He just knew that there was a fire and somebody needed to be pulled out and he just went in.”

handicapped woman

Officer Ryan Thornton

Rockwell’s mother has Multiple Sclerosis. As a result of the severity of her illness, she cannot walk. Consequently, she uses a wheelchair to get around.

The fire began from a lit cigarette in her bedroom, according to Rockwell.

Witnesses provided a harrowing account of the officer’s actions.

Neighbors who saw the incident last Wednesday say Officer Thornton collapsed coughing after coming out of the trailer. He was able to drag Rockwell’s mother out alive just before the whole room caught fire.

Thornton police say Officer Thornton was released from the hospital last Friday. His family says he has burns inside his lungs from inhaling too much smoke.

Rockwell’s mother remains in the hospital, where Rockwell says her condition continues to improve. She has a burn on her chest.

“I want the police to know that there are people who care and will support them no matter what,” Rockwell said.