RIVERVIEW — A veteran Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy was recovering from smoke inhalation Sunday after twice going into a smoke-filled home to search for fire victims.
"It's definitely going above and beyond," sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said of Deputy Allan Geer's efforts. "We're very proud of him."
Geer, 58, responded to the Waterford subdivision about 9:30 a.m. after neighbors heard what they thought was a burglar alarm at 9101 Hidden Water Circle. Seeing smoke coming from inside the house, Geer reported the fire.
Meanwhile, Geer got a fire extinguisher from his patrol cruiser and went in through a back door. He put out the smoldering fire and began to check every room for residents, officials said.
Overcome by smoke, Geer went outside for some fresh air, caught his breath and went back in to finish checking the last couple of rooms.
Finding no one inside, Geer went back out and collapsed as firefighters arrived. He was treated at Tampa General Hospital and released. No one else was hurt.
A 13 1/2-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, Geer is a "rock-solid deputy" who is a "low-key, get-it-done kind of guy," Callaway said. His supervisors plan to put him up for a commendation.
Authorities said the homeowner was away for the weekend.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials said.