Minnesota police officer saves 4 young girls from burning duplex

ST. PAUL. Minn. — A Minnesota police officer’s fast actions saved the lives of four young girls when their home caught on fire.

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Bill Baudette, a 29-year veteran of the Saint Paul Police Department, was patrolling Thursday morning at about 11 a.m. CDT when he saw smoke rising from a nearby duplex, KARE-TV reported.

The officer called for help from the St. Paul Fire Department, the department said in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Baudette helped a resident escape from the upper unit when the woman told the officer that children may have been in the downstairs unit, the Pioneer Press of St. Paul reported.

“I was trying to wait for the fire department, but I couldn’t because (the house) was starting to fill with smoke,” Baudette told reporters. “So I kicked the door in and found the four kids.”

The veteran officer told WCCO-TV that his experience told him not to wait, so he kicked in the back door to rescue the children, who ranged in age between 3 and 7. One of the children was sleeping, according to the television station.

“I’ve seen bad things,” Baudette told WCCO. “You just put your safety in the back and go.”

It took Baudette about 15 seconds to gather the children and take them to safety, the Pioneer Press reported.

The children’s father had stepped out of the house before the fire began, according to the newspaper.

Firefighters arrived about five minutes after Baudette called and were able to put out the fire, the Pioneer Press reported.

The children were not injured, police said.

Deputy Fire Chief Ken Adams said Beaudette’s actions saved the lives of the children.

“One of the things we know about young children and fires is that they become scared, and when they become scared they don’t go out, they hide,” Adams told the Pioneer Press. “They’ll hide under beds, they’ll hide in closets, trying to get away from the smoke that’s coming into the building. It’s a death trap.”

“Officers don’t get to choose calls. These calls choose the officers,” the police department wrote on Facebook. “Officer Beaudette was in the right place, at the right time, and was able to change the course of this event for this family.”