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Officers Brave Smoke, Flames To Pull Woman From Robinson Twp. Fire

ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) - Two police officers pulled an elderly woman out of her burning Robinson Township home Tuesday night.

A 911 call was placed by the woman around 6:30 p.m., but dispatchers couldn't make out what she was saying.

The officers were able to pull the woman out, but she's now in the hospital in critical condition.

The officers had to go into the home several times before they finally found the woman, risking their own lives.

Because the woman was only heard coughing on the line to 911, only police were initially dispatched to check out the call. It wasn't until they got arrived at the scene and saw the smoke that the fire department was alerted.

"We made entry to the residence, crawled along the floor, and were able to pull the victim out," Officer Noel Pilewski said.

Officer Pilewski very calmly described a brave moment. He and Officer Magga didn't hesitate to burst into the home when they saw heavy smoke inside.

"They went in. There was a lot of smoke. They went low, they couldn't see anything. They came back out to get some air to breath, went back in a second time," Officer Michael Gastgeb said.

That's when they saw the elderly woman had already passed out. The phone she used to call 911 was at her feet and she was slumped over in a chair in the living room. They quickly carried her outside.

As one officer was preforming CPR, two others went back into the home a third time.

"Another officer, Officer Short, went back in with Officer Pilewski and put out the fire," Officer Gastgeb said.

"They did a great job. They kicked into gear and did what they were supposed to do," Robinson Police Chief Dale Vietmeier said.

Chief Vietmeier said the officers also looked for additional victims when they entered the house the third time.

"Not knowing the circumstances, there were no neighbors out at the time, it happened so quickly. They did a heroic thing by trying to go back in there to see if anybody else was in there," Chief Vietmeier said.

"It's not a big deal. It's what we do," Officer Pilewski said.

The woman was last listed in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital.

The fire appears to have started in the dining room, although the cause is still unknown.

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