Maitland Police grow beards in support of officer injured in home fire

MAITLAND, Florida. – Maitland Police are showing support for an officer who was injured earlier this month in a home fire – which destroyed nearly everything he owned, according to the Maitland Police Department.

Josh Rotarius, who worked as a school resource officer at Dommerich Elementary School, was sleeping at home on the evening of July 1 when his dog’s barking woke him up, police said.

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According to the police department, the house was on fire and filled with smoke, prompting Rotarius to rush outside. However, Rotarius turned around and came back to free his dog from a dog crate, police said.

As the two escaped, Rotarius suffered burns to his hands and feet, and he had to be airlifted to Orlando hospital for treatment, police said.

Police reported that Rotarius was released two days later, although smoke, fire and water destroyed just about everything Rotarius owned.

Friends and colleagues of Rotarius from across Central Florida have started a GoFundMe to help the officer with his expenses.

Additionally, officers from the Maitland Police Department decided to show their support of Rotarius by growing out their beards.

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The police department said Rotarius now has temporary housing while he begins the insurance process, and is expected to return to work early next month.

According to the Maitland Police Department, lightning was the suspected cause of the fire.

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