By Melanie Posey
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Three Birmingham police officers took their promise "To Protect and Serve" to another level Tuesday morning. They worked to free an elderly woman from her burning home by prying through burglar bars. Claudia Satterwhite, 86, has lived in her Central Park home on Avenue O for more than 60 years. Neighbors say she and her husband built it as a love nest.
But around 6am Tuesday, the house caught on fire. Officers Roger Eady and Jason Arnold arrived on the scene just as Birmingham firefighters and ran to the side of the home.
"When we got to the scene, we didn't have time to think, you just react," says Eady. "She was standing in the window looking at us but the smoke was so thick she was a silhouette," recalls Arnold. "We busted the windows out with a baton and tried to get the burglar bars away from the house."
Fellow officer Phillip Mullen arrived on the scene and ran to get a pry bar tool from fire crews.
"We actually had to push them in towards the house because we couldn't pull it apart because of the bolts," Arnold says. "So we got a spaced probably 20 inches..enough to get her underneath the bars and pull her through the windows."
The officers say the whole time Satterwhite was calm and lucid telling paramedics she didn't want to go to the hospital, but to stay at her home of 60-plus years. As for the officers, they say they don't feel like heroes, "It's just part of our job," Mullen says. "We're trained to help people and that's what we try to do."
Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.
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