LEXINGTON (CBS) — A Lexington family escaped a fire in their home safely early Friday morning, in part thanks to police officers who saw what was happening and banged on their door.
Flames broke out at the house on Maple Street around 4 a.m. Police said a neighbor called 911 and while firefighters were on their way, two Lexington police officers made it to the scene first. They confirmed the house was on fire, woke up the family, and helped the residents and pets get out.READ MORE: 'Vax Express' Commuter Rail Train Bringing Shots To Communities With Low COVID Vaccination Rates
Investigators said the fire was caused by the improper disposal of oily rags in a dumpster outside of the home.
Lexington Fire Derek Chief Sencabaugh said, “Many people are not aware that oil soaked rags can generate their own heat and start a fire, especially when mixed with other items that can easily ignite. It is important to lay them flat to dry, preferably outdoors, then dispose of them properly.”
Crews faced “brutally cold conditions” while knocking the flames down, the fire department said. Frozen fire hydrants and freezing hoses made it even more difficult.
Firefighters braved the bitter cold to get this fire in Lexington under control.
They are also giving credit to a police officer who they believe happened to be patrolling the neighborhood at the time of the call. They say he was banging on the door—waking up the family. @wbz pic.twitter.com/jV00SYiKhTREAD MORE: US Buys 200 Million More Doses Of Moderna's COVID Vaccine
— Lisa Gresci (@Lisa_Gresci) January 29, 2021
At least half a dozen firefighters suffered minor injuries, many from slips and falls. All are expected to be OK.
“I’m sure as the guys start to thaw out, there will be more pains and strains but lucky there was nothing serious. This could have been, obviously with the hour and the temperatures, this could have been tragic,” said Sencabaugh.
The two police officers were taken to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation.MORE NEWS: Worcester City Council Approves Pension Petition For Officer Manny Familia's Family
Several surrounding towns assisted Lexington firefighters.