Officers who rescued Windsor Green residents describe their experience
Thu, 21 Mar 2013 22:13:47 GMT —
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) - Lives were saved from the Windsor Green condo fire in Carolina Forest through the heroic actions of those first on the scene.
Three Horry County police officers talked with WPDE NewsChannel 15 Thursday about what it was like responding to the massive fire on Saturday.
They only had a few minutes to knock on doors and get people out of their homes before flames covered the buildings. All three are thankful no lives were lost.
"Just chaos. I couldn't, you couldn't see the buildings at the end of the courts. The smoke was so heavy, embers were falling," explained Pfc. Joseph Manjarrez. "You couldn't tell what had happened back there, if a plane had crashed, there was no telling what had happened. It was just utter chaos."
Lance Cpl. Keith Massey described rescuing a woman's grandfather from a building that was already on fire.
"I looked down and just so happen I saw an unknown white male on his stomach on the ground in front of the unit where he supposedly was trapped. I immediately grabbed his arm with no thought, went down three flights of stairs. I couldn't see anything. At that point in time I thought I was still in big trouble. I looked up and saw the blue lights on my police car. And I started dragging this guy to my police car."
Massey went on to save a woman's dog as well.
You can see more of Massey's interview here.
Alongside Massey was Pfc. Christopher Cestare. He's a recent graduate of the police academy and this was his first major call.
He talked about what it was like when they knocked on people's doors telling them to leave, "they were asking what was wrong and I was just telling them there's not enough time to explain there's a fire and they just need to get out."
Looking back on how they responded, Cestare is proud of how all the emergency crews responded to the situation, "coming out of it as calm as we did I feel like that was a true achievement. Getting everyone out as quickly as possible."
Massey, Manjarrez and Cestare were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation.