A contingent of police officers from the 109th Precinct played the role of firefighters Friday morning, rescuing a family from a burning building at the border of Flushing and Whitestone.
Flames burst out of a two-story home at 25-61 Parsons Blvd. at about 8 a.m., and four people were trapped on the second floor, police said.
Before firefighters could arrive, seven police officers who were nearby rescued the family, who were rushed to New York Hospital Medical Center Queens and treated for smoke inhalation.
We were just in the right place at the right time, Police Officer Katrina Peacock said. You just go with your instincts on this one.
The fire started in the homes basement, although its cause was under investigation, said Fire Department spokesman Robert Calise.
After the rescue, Police Officers Dominick Trotta, Anthony LaVerme, Vincent Monte, Brian Shea, Eric Webel and Peacock were honored at the 109th Precinct, where they told their story to the press. The seventh officer, Suzanne Guidice, injured her hand and was unable to make the news conference.
While on patrol, Peacock said she was passing by a row of two-story homes on Parsons Boulevard when a noise grabbed her attention.
I heard screaming coming out of the house, said Peacock, who radioed in the other officers.
The police at first tried to go through the front door.
We kicked in the door. We were unable to enter because of heat and smoke, Monte said.
The officers borrowed a ladder from one of the neighbors and went around the block to reach the familys backyard.
Laverne and Trotta climbed the ladder and helped escort a 6-year-old child, a pregnant mother, a father and one unidentified woman out of the burning house.
We did it quick, Trotta said. We didnt know how fast the fire was spreading.
Firefighters soon arrived on the scene and had the fire under control by 8:24 a.m., Calise said.
The officers won the praises of their boss, 109th Precinct Inspector Owen Monaghan.
These guys are an extraordinary example of how brave and hardworking police officers are day in and day out, he said.
Neighbors said they were happy everything worked out.
The fire is gone and the people are fine, said Tommy Karagouns, who lives next door.
Neighbors said the residents of the first-floor apartment had recently moved out.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.
©2003 Community News Group
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