By Greg Argos


RIDLEY PARK, Pa. (CBS) — A Ridley Park police officer saved an elderly couple from intense flames Wednesday. Michael Hanley says he’s not a hero, but a lot of people might disagree.

The Ridley Park apartment building was a complete loss, as crews knocked it down Thursday. And fortunately, thanks to Hanley, everyone was pulled out alive.

Hanley’s father is a cop and a firefighter. And so are many of his closest relatives.

“We all are, everyone is both,” Hanley said.

So it’s not hard to imagine the 21-year-old followed in his family’s footsteps.

“I didn’t have a choice,” he joked.

Hanley is holding down two part-time police officer jobs with Ridley Park and Collingdale Townships, while also volunteering as a firefighter.

credit: Tim Thatcher

And all of that training came in handy around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when a century-old-home-turned-apartment-building caught fire. Hanley was just blocks away in his part-time gig as a Ridley Park officer.

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He and his partner were the first two on the scene of the three-alarm blaze.

“As soon as I got around back, one of the daughters, I guess, came down the fire escape and said, ‘My parents are still up there,’ so that’s when I ran upstairs,” Hanley said.

And clad in his police uniform, without any of his firefighting gear, Hanley climbed the narrow fire escape and pulled the two elderly parents out.

And with everyone safe, all the attention turned to Hanley.

“I was just covered in soot and I didn’t realize how,” he said. “They just thought it was worse, that underneath the soot, I was burned or whatever.”

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Hanley just received some minor nicks and a small patch of missing hair.

“That’s really it, I thought I was going to be peeling my face off,” he said.

“I was the only one dumb enough to run up to the fire, you know?” Hanley said.

Officer Hanley returns to work Friday. The elderly man he rescued is still in the hospital.