St. Paul police officer rescues 4 young kids from burning duplex

·2 min read

A St. Paul police officer rescued four children, ages 3 to 7, from heavy smoke and flames in their home this week.

Bill Beaudette, a law enforcement officer of 29 years, was patrolling on the East Side Thursday morning. It was a quiet shift, but he knew something was wrong when he saw smoke in the area of Case Avenue and Forest Street.

A duplex was on fire and Beaudette contacted the fire department. He helped a resident from the upper unit get outside and, when she mentioned there may be children downstairs, Beaudette knew something had to be done.

“I was trying to wait for the fire department, but I couldn’t because (the house) was starting to fill with smoke. So I kicked the door in and found the four kids,” Beaudette said, tearing up as she spoke on Friday. The children’s father had stepped out of the house before the fire began.

Gathering the kids and bringing them to safety took roughly 15 seconds, Beaudette recalled. By 11:08 a.m. Thursday, five minutes after contacting the fire department, firefighters were there to put out the fire.

“I did what 95 percent of the police department and fire department would do,” Beaudette said. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”

The children weren’t injured, according to police.

Deputy Fire Chief Ken Adams said Beaudette’s actions were life saving.

“One of the things we know about young children and fires is that they become scared, and when they become scared they don’t go out, they hide,” he said. “They’ll hide under beds, they’ll hide in closets, trying to get away from the smoke that’s coming into the building. It’s a death trap.”

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