Newly released body camera footage shows the moments when three police officers race into a burning apartment complex in Chester County to warn people as flames consumed the structure.
West Vincent Township police say Officer JR Kane and Upper Uwchlan police officers Robert Paradis and Bob Davis dashed through the halls, banged on doors and repeatedly warned residents about the fire that eventually caused the roof of the ReNew at Glenmoore building to collapse.
The fire broke out shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, neighbors and county dispatchers said. Despite blaring alarms, many of the residents were still inside when the officers arrived at the scene.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
The body camera video sheds light on the officers' frantic efforts.
"Police department, out of the building. The building's on fire," shouts one officer as he pounds on a door while the three continue their race against the flames.
At one point an older woman appears at her door, seemingly confused.
"Let's go, let's go. Now, now, now, now. It's burning. You gotta go. We gotta go now," an officer tells her.
The woman tells the officer that she's barefoot, but he remains determined to get her out as soon as possible.
"That's all right. Just hold my hand," he tells her as he begins leading her down a set of stairs.
His fellow officers, meanwhile, continue through the halls, warning others as the flames shoot into the air and continue their path of destruction.
The blaze tore through roughly 40 units in the four-story building. The roof was destroyed and many of the units on the upper floors were gutted and uninhabitable.
It took about 100 firefighters from multiple agencies until daybreak to extinguish the flames. Other police officers from different departs also assisted their firefighter counterparts.
Somehow, nobody was seriously injured.
"By placing the safety of others above their own, first responders didn't leave until the last resident was out safely. Due to the heroic actions of the fire fighters and the police officers, thankfully, there were no fatalities or serious injuries," West Vincent Township Police Department Chief Michael Swininger said in a news release.