Three police officers in Hudson, New Hampshire, are being praised for their heroic actions after rushing into a burning building to save a man trapped inside.
The flames broke out around 2 a.m. Monday. The subsequent investigation brought in authorities from state and local agencies. Investigators in hazmat gear spent hours going in and out of the burned-out, second-floor apartment.
It was not immediately clear why they were in the hazmat gear, but it was clear that those police officers risked their lives to save that resident.
"That man is very lucky," said nearby resident Christina Marmonte.
An officer on her way to work early Monday morning was first to see the flames shooting from a window of the multi-family home on Route 111.
She called 911, and three of her fellow officers were seconds away.
"They could not open the door," explained Hudson Police Chief Bill Avery.
Wasting no time, they smashed a window to get inside.
Officer Rob McNally was the first to enter.
"Immediately, he was faced with heavy smoke," Avery said. "He got down low on the floor, he could see a little, and he saw a gentleman laying on the floor."
With the help of his colleagues, McNally pulled the man out of the building and into an ambulance.
Firefighters were just five minutes behind the officers, but Avery says those minutes could have meant life or death for the victim.
"There was no hesitation on any of their parts," Avery said. "I think if you hesitated, it probably would've been a tragic ending."
As investigators try to figure out what sparked the fire, neighbors are talking about the rescue.
"I would say it's pretty brave," Mormonte said.
Others agree, saying today, they feel safer than they ever have before.
"It's crazy, you think about risking your life for the sake of someone else, especially someone you don't know, that's a pretty heroic move," said Nashua resident Scott Kearney.
"We're really lucky to have people like that in our community," said Samantha Borbone.
The victim was taken to a Boston hospital with serious injuries.
The Red Cross is helping the other three families displaced by this fire.
The investigation is ongoing. Police are expected to reveal more information later this week.