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Off-Duty Police Detective Rescues Family from Fire

Off-Duty Police Detective Rescues Family from Fire

Posted - Mar. 8, 2003 at 5:52 p.m.



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News Specialist Sandra Yi reporting An off duty police detective is being called a hero today, after she rescues a mother and her three young children from their burning home.

The fire started just before 3 o'clock this afternoon. The mother and her three kids were trapped on that second floor balcony. Firefighters say they had no where to go because the first floor of their duplex was engulfed in flames. The mom was upstairs feeding her baby when she smelled smoke.

At the same time a neighbor who was also feeding her baby on the front porch saw the flames and ran to see if anyone was home.

That neighbor Keri Sanders happens to be an off duty Salt Lake City police detective. She pounded on the front door then ran behind the house where she saw the victims.

Keri Sanders/Neighbor: "THEY WERE YELLING. THEY COULD HEAR ME KNOCKING ON THE DOORS AND POUDNING ON THE DOORS AND THEY WERE TRYING TO GET MY ATTENTION, AND SO I TOLD THEM TO STAY PUT WHILE I WENT AND GOT MY LADDER."

Sanders then ran back to her house to grab a ladder. A man who was working on a home down the street helped her carry it back to the house. He secured the ladder while Sanders went up to rescue the kids.

Tonight, firefighters, police and neighbors are calling both of them heroes.

Keri Sanders/Neighbor: "I HAVE A BABY BOY AND I JUST THOUGHT IF THOSE KIDS GET HURT, I WOULD FEEL TERRIBLE SO I JUST WANTED TO GET THOSE BABIES OFF."

Scott Talbot/Neighbor: "THE POLICE CAME AND TOOK MY PICTURE AND I THINK I JUST DID WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE OUGHTA DO OR SHOULD DO, SO I DON'T CONSIDER MYSELF A HERO."

The mother and her children were not injured. Her husband, who was out buying food when the fire started, was shaken up.

He was in tears when I talked to him. He told me his kids are everything to him and was glad they were ok.

The house was badly damaged. Firefighters estimate the damage between 45 to 50 thousand dollars.

The family is working with the Red Cross to find a place to stay.

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