CLEARWATER — Police patrolling near Drew Street and Jupiter Avenue stumbled across a duplex fire around 4:25 a.m. Saturday and rescued seven people, including a 9-month-old baby.
Flames were spreading in front of one-half of the duplex at 220 N Jupiter Ave. when four officers from the Clearwater Police Department pulled up. Officer Nick Giordano smashed a window in the unit with the flames, and he and another officer, Doug Bailey, helped five people out of the window, including the baby.
Those rescued were Luis Antonio Godho Dothe, 21, Maria Estela Dothe Pena, 24, Patricio Dothe Pena, 20, Armando Noel Martinez, 19 and Evelin Martinez Dothe, 9 months. None was injured.
Officials said the other two officers, Chris Lyons and Dave Marshall, knocked on the door of the other unit in the duplex, but did not get a response so they kicked in the door. Inside, Heather D. Mount, 32, and Bianca A. Mount, 11, were sleeping but unharmed.
"If it was not for these police officers, we would have been taking a lot of people to the hospital," said operations chief Richard Riley.
By the time firefighters arrived a few minutes after getting the call, all of the occupants of the duplex were outside. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.