A Virginia police officer broke down a door and rushed into a burning home early Monday to wake and help safely evacuate the residents still inside.
Lynchburg Police Officer Stephen Rippy was on patrol at about 1 a.m. when he spotted smoke issuing from a two-story home, WSET-TV reports. He immediately kicked in one of the doors and began rousting anyone who was still inside.
"Not a whole lot of thought was in my mind," said Rippy. "My main objective was to make sure we get in the house and make sure that if anyone's in there we get them out and get them to safety."
"The only thought that I have is, 'OK, we need to make sure that everyone is safe, let's get people out of this house. That is my main objective, and that is my only objective here,'" he added.
The smoke became thick as he moved through the house, and it became so thick that he couldn't see. Breathing also became difficult, and he felt his chest getting tight because of the smoke.
Rippy was joined by other police officers who responded to the incident. Firefighters were finally able to put out the flames, which significantly damaged the house.
All the residents were able to get out of the home safely. No injuries were reported, and the fire is under investigation.
Following the incident, Rippy said the experience gave him a better understanding of what firefighters go through.
"The only thing I know about fire is that it's very hot, and I experienced that last night," he said.