MAHWAH - A little girl is alive thanks to three Mahwah police officers who saved her from an intense fire at a Juniper Way condo complex Tuesday afternoon.
The police convinced the girl to jump from the third floor at the Society Hill complex to escape the flames.
The fire torched the third and top floor of the building, but nobody was hurt.
“She was very brave, very brave she just listened to what we told her - climbed right over the balcony and jumped,” says Sgt. Brendan Mullin.
The fire did a lot of damage to the complex, but the three police officers made sure it didn't kill anyone.
“It wasn't the usual scenario but we were all just thinking we're not going to let her fall,” says Lt. Jeffrey Dino.
After standing on the sidewalk, they realized the 9-year-old girl was on a third-floor balcony, and they talked her into jumping into their arms.
“We're just happy she jumped. I didn't think we were going to be able to talk her into jumping but she really didn't hesitate at all,” says Mullin.
Sal Capuano lives across from the building and captured some dramatic images of the flames. He could not fathom how the girl escaped.
“Pray for the little girl, I couldn't imagine that, that's unreal. That's absolutely unreal when someone has to jump from a situation three stories up. They had to evacuate the entire third floor,” says Capuano.
Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet says a kitchen fire may have been the source of the flames. He said the destruction was tragic, but the police prevented a greater tragedy.
“Too often, we see police officers being criticized. This is a moment for communities around the country to realize the positive and really beneficial things and the outcome here today. We're very proud of these people,” says Laforet.
The girl was not injured. An investigation is being done by a Mahwah arson investigator.