Posted at: 01/19/2013 10:17 AM
Updated at: 01/19/2013 11:22 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion
The two officers who rescued those involved in a car crash that turned into a fire Friday night are being called heroes by people in the community.
Officer Giovanni Maldonado and his partner, officer Mike DiPoala say they were at an ATM around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Main Street near Winton Road when they noticed a white BMW fly right past them. The driver of the car failed to make a turn at the Winton Road intersection and crashed into a store front.
The scene was chaotic enough and it got even worse when the car ignited inside of the store.
The officers were able to get the driver and the passenger to safety before the car went up in flames. They told News10NBC a furnace in the store sparked the fire.
Two people who live upstairs from the store were also rescued and brought to safety along with their four puppies. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the store after they arrived on scene.
Police say the two people inside the car were taken to Rochester General Hospital and are expected to be okay.
Both Maldonado and DiPoala were exposed to smoke from the fire and had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The officers say everything happened so quickly and they know very well the incident could have been much worse.
Officer Maldonado partner said everyone involved is lucky they made it out in time.
“We just reacted. We happened to be at the right place at the right time. Had we not been there, like I said, we have officers tied up, it was shift change at the time, it would definitely be a different story today. I don't see myself as a hero, I just see myself as I did what I had to do. I would have done the same thing had I not been at the ATM just as a civilian, I would have done the same thing,” said Officer Maldonado.
Police say Demetrius Dennis, 37, was the driver of the car. He received six citations ranging from not having a license to improper speed and failure to turn as required.
Police say they don't believe the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, but the incident is under investigation.