Cops credited for saving 3 men in Elizabeth fire

Dray Clark reports from Elizabeth.
March 5, 2014 2:34:59 PM PST
Two officers are being credited for removing three people from a burning house in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

The 3-alarm fire on the 500 block of Union Avenue was spotted by an officer just before 2 p.m. Wednesday burning in the four-story home.

A police officer was on construction detail, just one block from the home. He saw the smoke and ran towards the home while radioing for help.

The two officers responded. One went to the front of the home and the other went to the back. They both entered the home and yelled, "Get out, get out, is there anyone inside?"

There were three people inside, the homeowner and two workers who were doing some plumbing.

Fortunately, they were able to get out of the house. Just minutes later, firefighters say that home became completely engulfed in flames.

"I was working at a construction site here, and the workers and me started smelling smoke, and you could see a black cloud of smoke, and we pointed and there was a fire around the corner. And I went running around the corner and a police officer came to assist me. When we got to the house there was smoke everywhere. I tried to get in the front door, he went around to the back door, and we got three gentlemen out of the house, an elderly gentleman who lives there and two workers, and got them out of the house before the smoke and fire department showed and started putting out the fire," said Officer George Hidalgo, Elizabeth Police Department.

Nobody was said to suffer serious injuries.

Fire officials battled to control the blaze.

The officers said that they have no idea how the people inside didn't know there was a fire when there was black smoke everywhere.

The homeowner, Christian Harris, said that he and his wife have lived in that home for 30 years and have lost 30 years of memories.

Officers Hidalgo and Chatham have been on the force for more than 20 years and have done this before. They are just happy they were able to respond and get the men out safely.

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