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Phoenix police officer helps rescue family from house fire

Posted at 10:03 AM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 17:26:03-05

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Body camera video shows a Phoenix police officer helping a family escape a large house fire over the weekend.

Firefighters say the incident happened Saturday near 67th Avenue and McDowell Road, on the city's west side.

Ruby Johnson-Smith said she and her family were home when the fire broke out.

"My daughter and the kids were in the backyard, they were playing, and she ran in and said, 'mom, get out, it's a fire,’" Johnson-Smith said. "I'm like, fire? I started to go to the back porch and then I saw that the fire was coming, so I just ran in my room and grabbed my purse and ran out."

A neighbor next door was then alerted to the kids who were still close to the flames.

"She kept saying that her kids were in the backyard and I thought they were by themselves," said neighbor Josie Aragon. "I'm like, 'oh my God, they need to get those kids out of there.’"

Aragon said a couple of police officers happened to see the flames from across the street.

"Thank God there was these officers coming out of these apartments across the street," Aragon said.

Body camera video from one of the officers shows him rushing toward the house, busting down a side gate, and gaining access to the backyard, where some of the family members were located. The officer and other neighbors helped the family members over the wall with the use of a ladder.

"The officer was brave," said neighbor Annette Castillo. "The fire, that's where it started right there, he still went in, broke down that fence, and saved the family."

Johnson-Smith said all things considered, she and her family are doing well and are currently staying at a motel. She credits her neighbors for helping during the fire as well as the responding officers.

"I appreciate them so much," Johnson-Smith said of the officers. "God is going to crown them for the help that they did for us."

No injuries were reported in the incident. The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.

This story was originally published by staff at KNXV.