GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — One of the three Glendale police officers who saved a woman from a burning house said what he and his colleagues did was “nothing special” because it was part of their job.
Time was not on the side of the officers, who were the first to arrive at a burning house on Dublin Drive early Monday morning.
With flames shooting out everywhere and the 78-year-old homeowner trapped and screaming for help on the balcony, Officers Jimmy Mercado, Christopher Clay and Matthew Stafford took action.
Mercado burned his hand climbing, then jumping over the iron railing to reach her. She was so terrified, she refused to come towards the officers.
“I was able to move her, pick her up, then put her over the balcony and safely give her to Officer Clay,” Mercado recalled.
Officer Clay and the third officer had found a ladder and brought it over.
“Officer Mercado handed the elderly female across the balcony. I was able to carry her down the ladder, and Officer Stafford was able to take the female from me and carry her past the burning house,” Clay recalled.
A mobile phone video showed the figures of the officers racing away from the burning hillside home as they carried the woman to safety.
“I want to thank them for giving us an opportunity to have a Christmas celebration and a New Year. It’s a gift that nobody else can ask for, a gift of life really,” said the victim’s son, Vago Tchobanian.
“I am convinced that had she been up there for another 30 seconds to a minute, the outcome would have been completely different,” said Chief Greg Fish of the Glendale Fire Department.
“I was looking at her as if she was my mother. I’m happy she’s safe,” Mercado said. “I’m just proud of what we did. It’s nothing special. It’s part of our job.”
So how does a family express their gratitude to the people who saved their mother’s life?
The woman’s son said “she wants to make them dinner. I’m pretty sure. That’s the first thing she wants to do.”
The 78 year-old woman was treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital Tuesday night.
The three officers were treated for minor burns.