CAMDEN, N.J., (CBS) — Captured on surveillance video: two Camden County police officers and a Good Samaritan pull a man from a burning home.
Just before 4:30 p.m. Saturday, a fire broke out on the second floor of a home at the 800 block of N. 8th Street in Camden.
Neighbor Emilio Ortega saw the smoke and flames and forced his way into the home where he found the man in an upstairs bathroom badly burned and unable to walk. Ortega began dragging Ortiz down the stairs through thick smoke.
“All he said was help me and he just collapsed. My option was, wrap my hands around him and bring the man out. So I brought him down to the steps to the two officers,” Ortega said.
Officer Jovan Plaza and Officer Frank Laspata were on patrol in the area and quickly arrived on the scene. They ran into the home where they found the man lying on the steps unable to move and Ortega struggling to breathe.
“I had Emilio grab his legs, me and Laspata came in and took his upper body and pulled him right out of the house,” Officer Plaza said.
Ortega ultimately fainted and had to be taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
The man pulled from the burning home suffered burns to nearly two-thirds of his body and is hospitalized in critical condition.
“These were truly heroic actions taken by Officers Plaza and Laspata and by Mr. Ortega. They risked their lives running into a burning building to ensure that Mr. Ortiz made it out alive and our prayers are now with him as he remains hospitalized,” said Chief J. Scott Thomson in a statement.
The officers are being honored as the Camden County Police Officers of the Week.