Monroe County

Three Rochester Police officers rescue several people from burning home

Rochester, New York – Three Rochester Police officers were near Campbell Street for another call when they suddenly saw smoke and and flames from a house.

“We didn’t even talk about it,” said Officer Andy Demarco, one of the officers. “We saw it and just started running over.”

Officers Brandon Mandurano and Mary Barnes were with Demarco. Two of them went inside, while the third set up a ladder in the rear of the home. The three officers rescued several of the people inside. According to firefighters two adults and six children were inside the home at the time the fire started. One man jumped from a second-floor window to escape.

“It was very thick, dark smoke,” Demarco said. “We couldn’t see, we were crouched down. Pretty much on or hands and knees, with our flashlights trying to see anybody, just calling out. It was just very dark, very smoke, couldn’t see anything.”

According to Mandurano the smoke in the house was too overwhelming.

“So I made a decision to go to the back of the house to see if I could make contact with anybody,” Mandurano said. “It was locked, so I used my baton to break the glass out of the door. When I opened it, there were other individuals inside that doorway.”

“I don’t know how to put the bravery of those officers into words,” Rochester Police Lt. Greg Bello said Monday. “They don’t have any firefighting equipment or fireproof jackets or any of that stuff. They’re just in their regular uniforms like this running into a burning building.”

Chris Higgins-Maldonado, 12, was still inside the house when fire crews arrived. Firefighters got into the home and were able to get him out, but his injuries were already too severe and the boy died at Strong Memorial Hospital.

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