They thought everyone inside a Deltona home had escaped the fire early Tuesday but the family forgot one important member -- a 1-year-old niece.
Deputies tried to get into the house in the 2900 block of Bath Street about 8:06 a.m. through the kitchen but the smoke overwhelmed them. Time was ticking for the toddler.
Running to the back of the home, Deputy Byron Poteralski broke a window, climbed in and rescued the child, who was still in her playpen, according to Brandon Haught, a sheriff's office spokesman.
Poteralski passed the 1-year-old to firefighters through the window and escaped unharmed.
She was conscious, alert and breathing but officials took her to a local hospital as a precaution, Haught said.
Poteralski, 33, needed only a bandage for the small cut he suffered at the scene.