LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A dramatic scene caught on video shows first responders rescuing a southern Indiana family desperate to escape a house fire, with children having no choice but to leap out of their window and into police officers' arms.
Five children and their grandmother are expected to be okay.
According to the Madison Police Department, they responded to the building in the 600 block of Walnut Street around 1 a.m. Sunday.
As officers arrived at the scene, they noticed multiple people trapped in an upstairs apartment with the staircase engulfed in flames.
"From three years old to thirteen," Detective Shawn Scudder said. "Their apartment was filling with smoke, and we just had to get them calmed down enough to where they would trust us to fall into our hands."
On Tuesday, police revealed they instructed the 13-year-old girl to break through a partially-blocked window to create enough space to get out. Officers say she was hesitant at first but eventually was encouraged enough to trust them.
"I think I kind of just went into dad mode," Officer Phillip Wimpee said. "That's how I spoke to them, calling them 'sweetie pie.' It was no different than how I would have talked to my kids to try to get them calm in that situation. It resonates with the rest of us who are fathers."
Officers and detectives caught all five children as they jumped out of the window one by one. They also said the grandmother leaped from the second-story window and was also caught by officers.
The images of the rescue were caught on the officers’ body cameras.
Police checked the ground-level apartments to make sure no one else was inside.
Two police officers, who were also experienced firefighters, began battling the fire until more crews arrived.
No cause of the fire was released, which remains under investigation.
On Tuesday, Madison PD told WHAS11 the family is awaiting assessments from fire inspectors to gauge the next steps for the home that they say is not a complete loss.