Bedford police officers recall trying to save family from burning home

BEDFORD (WSLS 10) - An investigation is underway following a house fire Tuesday morning in Bedford which killed a 4-year-old girl and sent three others to the hospital.

A prayer vigil was held at Bedrock Community Church on Tuesday night where dozens went to share their condolences.

For most of the day, fire investigators were at 708 Grove Street trying to piece together what sparked the fire, but before they arrived, Officer Josh Peltier and Sgt. Levi Poole with the Bedford Police Department were the first ones on the scene.

Peltier described the scene when he pulled up, "The mother was in the front yard still. She just kept screaming ‘my babies.'"

He jumped into action, running to the top of the stairs where the flames were spreading.

"I got up to the top and I assume to be the father. He was kind of pushing a child to me, so I just grabbed the child and ran out the door," recalled Peltier.

He got one child out but more were trapped on the top floor.

Peltier ran back inside, but this time the father wasn't handing anyone over. He had passed out at the top of the stairs.

"I ran back in to help him get down the stairs, but he was laying on his back and I guess he was passed out at that point," said Peltier, who dragged the father to safety in the front yard and yet again ran back into the burning home.

"I tried to go back up the stairs, but just the heat and the smoke. I couldn't keep going, so I backed out," said Peltier.

At that point, Poole had arrived and jumped in to help save the two remaining children.

"I get up to a certain level at a balcony and I see feet and I see it's a little girl, but still up there and my first reaction is to just run up and get her and as soon as I did I hit most of that second level smoke and it kind of took me back and the heat, it was really hot," recalled Poole.

He too was knocked back by the wall of flames and smoke.

Geared-up firefighters were able to break through that wall and rescue those little feet Poole saw, but the feeling of helplessness is unsettling for these officers.

"It's not a good feeling. We're both macho guys, wanting to get in and help as many people as we can. And when you reach that wall and that wall was at the second story, you just got to trust that the firefighters are doing all that they can and they did. They worked their tails off as well," said Poole.

Climbing a ladder, firefighters were able to pull the last child out of the burning home, a 4-year-old girl who died on the way to the hospital.

A tragic ending for those who work to save lives.

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