COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Officer Dale Woods shrugged off compliments from colleagues after he saved a blind woman from a burning apartment, Colerain firefighter Bob Rielage said.
Rielage said he told Woods that the work he did was incredible, and Woods said, “I’m just doing my job.” That’s the kind of person Woods was, Rielage said.
Woods, a 15-year veteran, died Monday evening after he was hit by a driver on Friday while he was working the scene of a crash on Colerain Avenue.
Woods saved a woman’s life just months before he died; edited body camera footage from the September fire provided by police shows Woods holding the woman’s arm as he led her up a smoky stairway to safety.
That woman, Patricia Godfrey, called Woods "my angel."
"You could just feel the love coming from him because he didn't rush me," she said. "He was such a gentle man. I mean, the real meaning of a gentleman."
Neighbor Nancy Rice said she watched the effort from her nearby apartment.
"He went right in without hesitating," she said. "So yeah, he's a true hero for the community, and we will miss him dearly."
Godfrey said Woods even visited her in the hospital and brought her keys to her.
"I wish everybody was like him and really knew how to help," she said. "He's going to be missed, and my heart goes out to his wife and kids."
Godfrey said she wants Woods' family to know that he was "one of the good ones."
"I don't have nothing but nice things to say, and I know he's in heaven," Godfrey said. "And we're going to take care of your family here, I'm going to make sure."
Denney said Woods was born to be a police officer, and he loved his work through and through.
"He leaves behind a loving family and grateful police department and a grateful community," Denney said.
Gov. John Kasich ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Tuesday. In Colerain, residents placed wreaths with thin blue lines at the Veterans Memorial and hung blue ribbons around town in support of the police department and Woods’ family.