Posted at: 01/16/2013 10:42 PM
Updated at: 01/16/2013 10:51 PM
By: Katie Eldred
(ABC 6 News) -- A Monday night apartment fire left two families homeless. We’re now learning that one of those families barely made it out of the building.
Luckily two Rochester Police officers sprang into action to save a mother and her children.
The call came in just after 9 p.m. Monday night. Officers Aaron Penning and Shamus Ryan were the first ones on the scene.
"We got there and the apartment was full of flames," said Penning
Both officers had been to similar fires before, but typically their jobs is to keep people away.
"People get too close to the apartment and we move them back," said Penning.
But this time was different.
"There was yelling and I heard a mom and children screaming, at that point it was let's get them out," said Ryan.
Neither officer hesitated.
"It was scary thinking we had to go in there but even worse thinking that we couldn't get them out," said Penning.
"We didn't even have time to think, we just started figuring out a way to get them out," said Ryan.
With the fire growing by the second…
"We didn't know how much time we had, the flames down below were coming through the windows through the floor," said Penning.
It wasn't just battling the heat and the flames.
"We got the door open and smoke just billowed out we had to actually go back out and grab a breath before we went back in," said Ryan.
"We couldn't see them, but we could hear them," said Penning.
Following simply the cries of the children and their mom, they were able to one by one escort the entire family to safety.
"We couldn't see the mom until we were several feet into the apartment and she was huddling her children," said Ryan.
"Just counting the children hoping you've got them all," said Penning.
The family was taken to the Saint Marys Hospital for smoke inhalation.
Both officers say they would do it again in a heartbeat.
"It's just lucky that we were in the area and got there when we did," said Ryan.
""I'm glad we got the information that we did normal protocol would have been to keep everyone away from the fire and we wouldn't have gone that far in, I'm glad everyone is okay," said Penning.
Both Penning and Ryan also had to be taken to the hospital.
They gave credit to the mom for being brave and keeping her children huddled together.