ATLANTA (CBS Local) — An Atlanta firefighter who tried to save the life of an elderly woman is facing suspension because he allegedly broke protocol.

Atlanta Fire Department crews responded to a house fire on Collier Drive in west Atlanta last June, battling heavy smoke and flames while trying to rescue 95-year-old Sally Skrine.

“Burglar bars” around Skrine’s home made it difficult to get inside, but Capt. Daniel Thomas Dwyer decided to risk his life and go in.

Skrine, who was found face up on the dining room floor, was pulled out of the burning structure. Attempts to resuscitate Skrine failed.

Now, eight months later, Dwyer faces a four-day suspension without pay.

Officials said the suspension was “designed to encourage safety and order.”

“You entered the structure without your crew members which is in immediate conflict with no freelancing, accountability, and maintaining crew integrity,” a “notice of final adverse action” complaint said.

But firefighter union head Paul Gerdis said the action sends the wrong message.

“When the men and women in the station hear that the fire captain is going to be punished for acts of valor, it just goes against everything in which a firefighter swears an oath to uphold,” he told WXIA.

Dwyer has filed an appeal, but the firefighters union said it could take years to be heard.

The fire command also ordered Dwyer’s pay docked 48 hours, according to WAGA.