PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philly police and firefighters are being credited with saving a half a dozen people from a burning row home in North Philadelphia Friday morning.
The fire started on the 1500 block of Oxford Street around 5:30 a.m in a three-story row home split into apartments.
“I just heard somebody screaming, so I looked at the sidewalk and saw a mattress was on fire,” neighbor Holli Adey says. “So I ran downstairs with a bucket of water, and I saw the cops outside.”
On patrol at the time, 10-year veteran Philadelphia Police Officer Eric Stiess was one of the first on the scene. He spotted that fire as it started to spread from the first floor and did not hesitate.
“I got a fire extinguisher and put out the mattress as best I could,” Stiess recalls. “That did little, though. We had to take immediate action right away to get everybody out.”
Stiess and five other Philly cops rushed to the rescue.
“The back wasn’t on fire,” Stiess says. “That was the easiest way so none of us would get hurt. We went to the second floor, climbed on the rooftop, and got them off the roof and back on ground level.”
With the help of Philly fire crews, everyone got out of the burning building.
Fire officials say three people were taken to the hospital for treatment, one of them with burns. All are expected to recover, including several pet cats and turtles.
Turns out, this was not the first rescue for Stiess. He rescued residents in another house fire just two weeks ago.
He says Friday’s fire, though, is one to remember.
“This one was bad,” he says. “This one goes down for the books.”
The fire marshal has ruled this fire as an accidental fire. The exact cause is still under investigation.