Two Arlington police officers spoke Wednesday about rescuing residents from an apartment complex fire on Tuesday evening.
Officers Kristi Johnson and Billy Cruz were working an unrelated disturbance call when they saw the smoke and ran into the building.
Johnson could only whisper at Wednesday's press conference, still hoarse from the fire. Both officers suffered smoke inhalation.
"I knocked on the door no answer, I kicked in the door. It was just black. Couldn't see anything," Cruz said. "I noticed a little girl little blonde haired girl just kind of standing in the doorway with a blank stare on her face. So I grabbed her and picked her up."
Cruz said the girl started saying mommy and he realized someone else was still in the apartment. So he went back in and called out for the mother. She responded initially but then she went quiet.
Cruz was considering running out with the girl when the mother and her 18-month-old stumbled into the officer. He led the entire group out to safety.
A neighbor came with the mother, Marci Sabill, to the police department to personally thank her savior.
I'm very grateful for what you did," Sabill said. "My children are alive because of what you did."