MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Two police officers with the Monroe Police Department are being credited with saving a family during a house fire Tuesday morning.
According to the Monroe Police Department, Officer Corey Helms arrived to a fire at a home in the 1800 block of Lexington Avenue around 2 a.m. Police say heavy smoke was visible and Helms could see a woman at a window on the second floor.
Helms and another young officer, Dylan Cole, happened to be nearby and arrived on the scene. That's when they say instinct kicked in.
"I open up the door and smoke just starts billowing out," officer Corey Helms said.
22-year-old Helms says he was just around the corner when he heard the call over the radio. Shortly after, Cole arrived on the scene to help.
"Those people needed us, so we were like, let's go," Cole said.
Police say the woman reportedly threw keys down to Officer Helms who was then able to enter the home. Helms was "initially unable to enter due to the amount of smoke" and left the front door open so some smoke could escape, police said.
"The smoke was super thick and it was really hard to see so we both got down really low," Cole said.
The two were able to secure a ladder to help find the family who was trapped inside the home, according to the police department. Police say there were two adults and three small children inside the home during the incident.
While rescuing the family, Helms and Cole each carried one of the small children to safety, police said. A short time later, firefighters with the Monroe Fire Department arrived on scene and controlled the fire.
The officers, with just two and a half years of experience between them, say this was their first fire call and reminds them why they do what they do.
"It's a great feeling and it hadn't really started to set in until the next day because at the time we were just there doing our job," Cole said.
Police say baby bottles that were left boiling on the stove were the cause of the fire. It is unclear how much damage the fire caused.
Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard released this statement Tuesday:
Officers say all of the residents were treated by Emergency Medical Services on scene.