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Firefighters from one engine company based in Kew Gardens spotted the officers leaning out the second-story window and immediately set up a handheld ladder against the building to give the cops an escape route, Fire Department spokesman Mike Loughran said.
"Upon our arrival we saw two police officers on the second floor," he said. "Firefighters from Engine Company 315 put up a ladder and got the cops out of the building."
The officers were among 11 people treated for minor injuries from the fire, Loughran said.
The blaze started in a three-story mixed commercial and residential building at 172-33 Jamaica Ave. about 6:42 a.m. Friday, he said.
Detective Chojone Maye, assigned to Transit District 20, was on his way to work when he saw flames spewing from the top of the three-story building, police said. Maye rushed into the burning structure and was soon followed by two uniformed officers from the 103rd Precinct, based in downtown Jamaica, police said. Maye and Police Officers Michael Mitchell and John Johnson helped escort at least six residents from the building, police said.
But Mitchell and Johnson became trapped on the second story, one floor below the fire, officials said. Firefighters from Engine Company 315, based out of a firehouse on Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens, saw the partners leaning out the window and propped a handheld ladder underneath the window to get the officers out of the building.
Mitchell, Johnson and Maye were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation, officials said. Six firefighters and two others were treated for minor injuries at Mary Immaculate Hospital and Queens Hospital Center, Loughran said.
More than 100 firefighters battled the two-alarm blaze, bringing it under control nearly an hour after it started, Loughran said. The cause of the flames was still under investigation, but fire marshals believe it may have been electrical in nature, he said.
One other building on Jamaica Avenue was also damaged by an early morning blaze Friday, officials said. A three-story brick building at 184-06 Jamaica Ave. caught fire about 3:30 a.m. The blaze was under control by 4 a.m., a Fire Department spokeswoman said.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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