UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — Tuesday was the first time three Upper Darby Police officers have been together since Sunday night.
Sgt. Sean Kenny and Officers Joe DiFranceso and Anthony Bateman were in the Drexel Hill area of the township, along with fellow Officer William Sides, when the call for a house fire went out. Two people were trapped.
“We were lucky,” Kenny said. “I was a couple blocks away.”
Luck was the word of the day but challenges would soon pile up.
The neighborhood was full of smoke, making the fire difficult to immediately find.
“There were neighbors everywhere, pointing the house out,” Bateman said. “There was smoke coming from everywhere.”
They split up. Two officers headed in the front door and two hurried around back.
“We kicked the door into the kitchen area, we were met with heavy smoke, and the flames, that’s where the fire was mainly,” DiFrancesco said.
He and Kenny couldn’t see a thing.
“My entire main thing, the entire time was how was I going to find this door to get back out.”
“How far do I go inside, how do I find this door to get back out,” Kenny wondered.
Their partners around front were making progress.
“Officer Sides said he heard someone and saw a hand, so he said there was somebody in there, so he crawled in,” Bateman said. “I was right behind him, we went in and pulled him out.”
The officers then turned their attention to a woman screaming from the roof.
With the help of a volunteer firefighter, together they used a ladder to get her to safety.
“Luckily we were there, to get there in time,” DiFrancesco said. “It all happened very quickly.”
CBS3 spoke one the female victim off-camera. She is doing fine. Her husband continues to recover in the hospital. She extended her gratitude to the officers.
Asked about the decision to run inside, Bateman replied: “No, it’s not an easy one, but it’s what you have to do.”
And say they’d surely do it again, according to Kenny.
“Been here 10 years: great job, love it, just part of the job — it’s just another day at work for me,” he said.