By Jim Smith

WILMINGTON (CBS) – It was just after 1 a.m. Saturday when a house fire in Wilmington was gathering steam and moving quickly.

That’s when Officer Kevin Skinner took action. He began alerting sleeping residents to the house fire on Ohio Street, and helped them get safely out of the house.

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“I started banging on the door just as loud as I could,” Skinner told WBZ-TV.

A resident called 911 around 1 a.m. to report a house fire on Ohio Street.

The couple living here was sound asleep and Skinner was ready to break the door down. But luckily he didn’t have to.

“They heard me pretty quickly. They probably came downstairs within a minute and I informed them that their house was on fire,” he said. “And you could see smoke starting to build on the second floor, and their bedroom was actually in the front of the house, but the fire was in the back corner so the smoke detectors hadn’t gone off yet, so they were unaware that their house was on fire and they were still sleeping when I woke ’em up. No idea.”

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The people inside got out safely along with two dogs and a pair of tropical birds.

“They had the birds, they were tropical birds so they had to have them in the heated car and all that so were just, we were just hanging out letting the fireman do their job,” said neighbor Tony Fruciano.

Fortunately, that fire was put out before it consumed the house. As far as Officer Skinner goes, he may have been helped by some family bloodlines.

“My father’s a firefighter, and also my brother, so they might have taught me a thing or two,” Skinner said.

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Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.