Officer Antonio Bustamante is a true-blue Waimanalo boy done good. On Sept. 23, 2009, the Honolulu Police Department officer was on his way to drop off evidence at the Kailua police station when he noticed smoke coming from a house in the Olomana subdivision.
“Being a ‘Nalo cop, I thought to myself, ‘Who in Kailua is burning rubbish?’” Bustamante recalls. “I had to satisfy my curiosity, so I pulled in.”
He says that when he arrived at the home, he noticed a group of teenagers trying to jump over the fence. They told the officer they were looking for a hose because the house was on fire. Bustamante went to the back area of the property and discovered that it was, in fact, on fire, and immediately had HPD dispatch a call for fire crews to respond. Bustamante then thought to go into the house to see if anyone was inside.
And it’s a lucky thing for Fumie Poka he did. Shortly after Bustamante helped the elderly resident safely out of her home, the entire building became completely engulfed in flames.
“I knew if I waited it may be too late, and if I waited and someone was in there and I could have helped them, I don’t think I would be able to live with myself,” says Bustamante, who represents District 4 on the Honolulu board of directors for SHOPO, the police union.
“For him, saving the woman from the fire was part of our everyday duties as a police officer,” says Sgt. Edward Ah Chong, who nominated Bustamante for the Lex Brodie Above and Beyond Award, which Bustamante received in a surprise ceremony last month.
“I recognized Officer Antonio Bustamante as an officer who is there to serve and protect the public citizens,” Ah Chong explains. “He takes his duties seriously and is always there when the other officers need a helping hand. He never complains about doing his job. He is not a selfish officer, but one who goes out of his way to assist the public and co-workers.”
“All I did was do my job,” says the modest Bustamante. “I know if any one of my fellow officers were put in this situation they would have done the same thing. I think the Honolulu Police Department is the best department in the nation, and we have the best officers.”
With officers like Bustamante, few can argue against that statement.
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