Six Cambridge police officers are being hailed today for their rescue efforts that helped save three people as flames ripped through a Columbia Street building early this morning.
The three-alarm fire broke out just after 3:30 a.m.
When officers arrived they saw "that the rear of the third floor was completely engulfed in flames," according to a police report.
"At the same time, two residents were frantically yelling out of the third floor window for our help," the report said. "There was heavy black smoke pouring out of this same window above their heads."
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Despite the smoke, all six responding officers rushed into the building.
When officers Brendan Pasco, Nicholas Mochi, Michael Padua and Eugene Bustillo reached the third floor, the air above them had turned to heavy black smoke.
Pasco yelled to the trapped victims to crawl to him as visibility started to become nonexistent and the heat from the flames increased in intensity. Mochi was able to grab the arm of a 21-year-old woman. Pasco then lead her downstairs to safety.
Mochi was then able to grab a man who was trapped and handed him to Padua who guided the man to safety.
Still fearing other people were trapped, Mochi and Bustillo then headed to the second floor where officers Steven Murphy and Frank Lange had already begun a search, according to the police report.
As Lange and Murphy noticed the second floor kitchen was entirely engulfed in flames, they came across a man who was asleep in his bedroom. They woke him up and the man appeared confused and disorientated. The officers were able to get him out safely.
"I am very proud of these six officers for their efforts, and I’m grateful that no victims of this fire were injured," said police Commissioner Robert Haas. "This profession often places officers in extraordinary circumstances. It is remarkable how these six officers responded, putting themselves in harm's way to help save others."
Two firefighters suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.