CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Officer Joe Deferville had just pulled a guy over for driving backward down Division Street on Monday evening when another motorist drove by and said, “Officer, the building back there’s on fire.”
Deferville told the reverse driver to turn around and bolted half a block east to a brick three-flat that was filling with smoke as a closed business burned next door at 4050 W. Division.
Deferville, 32, and his partner, Officer William Morales, 40, scrambled through thick gray smoke frantically knocking on doors at 7:54 p.m.
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On the third floor, hip-hop music was blaring from an apartment. Deferville found a mother in her 20s and her grade school-age daughter.
The mother was looking for clothes, but Deferville told her, “Ma’am, we’ve got to go now, get a pair of socks for your daughter, I’m taking her out of here.”
Then he picked up the girl and ran for front door, with the mother following.
Morales helped an elderly blind man to the stairs, and fellow Officer Matthew Scott, 47, took the man’s arm and led him outside.
A fourth man from the second floor was escorted from the building as six officers in total descended on the building for a final sweep to check that everyone was out.
“You run in, do what you can — and get the hell out,” Deferville said hours later, still reeking of smoke, as Scott stood next to him and coughed.
“No one was injured. . . . It all ended well. Property damage can be replaced,” Deferville said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)