3 Cheers: Seven Philly Officers Hailed As Heroes For Saving Residents From Burning Home

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Seven Philadelphia Police officers are being hailed as heroes after rushing into a burning home to save the people inside.

The fire started around 5:30 Friday morning on the 1500 block of West Oxford Street near Temple University.

The patrol officers spotted the flames and knew they had to act quickly as the fire spread from the first floor.

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Three people were taken to the hospital for treatment but Eyewitness News was told all are expected to recover.

First responders sign up to put their lives at risk to save others but these officers reminded the community why it should never take that sacrifice for granted.

“It’s a real situation that you can practice all you want but there’s no coming back if you mess up,” said Officer Eric Stiess.

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Officers Brian Hollman, Joseph Kochmer, Thomas Bergy, Joseph Sperry, Matthew Market, Kate Lankford and Eric Stiess knew there was only time to act.

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Credit: CBS3

They got three people out the front door of the burning building, but there were three trapped upstairs, including a child and an elderly woman.

So Kochmer and Hallman climbed up the back of the house and knocked out a window, forming a human chain with the other officers to pull people out.

“You go in there and do what you have to do. We’re underequipped of course when it comes to fire, there’s not much we can do but risk our lives to get everybody out and make sure everyone is safe and sound,” Stiess said.

They’re modest about their actions. Like so many first responders, they say they were just doing their jobs.

But to risk your life to save a stranger’s is anything but ordinary.

Each of these officers has worked a fatal fire in their career. They say those memories never leave them.

When they had a chance to save lives, they ran to it.

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“We all have families. We all think, ‘Hey that could be one of our family’ and we just want to get in there and rescue as many people as possible,” said Stiess.

A fire isn’t normally the business of police officers but on Friday morning, these officers made it theirs in order to save the lives of strangers.

For that, they get three cheers.

 

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