Hero cops rescued woman, 103, from South Philadelphia fire

PHILADELPHIA - September 27, 2013

It happened a week ago on Chaucer Street in South Philadelphia, right across the street from the Eagles' practice facility.

When the fire broke out, the officers, who were working a traffic detail, spotted the smoke before a call even went out.

"I was maybe half a block away," said Officer Dan Pignataro.

"I was across Broad Street, about 6, 7 blocks away," said Officer Bryan Sullivan.

When they got there, frantic neighbors told police that not everyone was out. A 103-year-old woman was still inside.

"They actually telephoned her first and said, 'Your home's on fire.' And she said, 'No it's not,' and she just continued eating her sandwich," a neighbor told Action News.

"We saw that the fire was moving and we all just quickly figured we have to get whoever's in here out," said Sullivan.

"At that point, you know, we're humans, we're going to do what we can do," said Pignataro.

The officers tried to talk the woman into coming out, but she wouldn't, and they couldn't get in because of some security bars.

So they went over to a pair of French doors where they broke in to get her. That is where they got hurt.

"I just see the lady standing there and she's still not coming out. So we had to physically grab her and start bringing her out of the house," said Pignataro.

"I grabbed her from the front and tried to make our way slowly, inch by inch, with all the debris. Kind of stumble a little bit, fall a little bit, but we got up and got out," said Sullivan.

The officers were cut by the glass going in to get the woman, and Officer Sullivan was burned carrying her out.

But the woman wasn't hurt, and both officers say that is what's important.

"We got a win on this one," said Sullivan.

"I was glad we could get her out," said Pignataro. "I've been there when it didn't end up great."

Both men say they were just doing their job, something they say they'd do again if called upon.

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