Ripon firefighters hailed as heroes
RIPON - 26 people lived inside these apartments before they went up in flames last week. Two police officers are being credited with saving a lot of lives that day.
"I think tragedy was averted that day. We could have had a lot different things happen," said Ripon Police Officer Tim Schroeder.
Ripon police officers Tim Schroeder and Travis Borkenhagen were the first two on the scene of a massive downtown Ripon fire.
"The smoke was pretty overwhelming. it was pretty thick," Borkenhagen said.
"I went to the back of the hallway and it was full of smoke, floor to ceiling. You couldn't see 5 feet," Schroeder said.
They knew there were dozens of people inside, including kids, so the two went door to door making sure everyone was out safely. They were able to get everyone out, including three cats. The Ripon Fire Chief calls these two officers heroes for saving lives.
"I think we were lucky. Everybody needs to put new batteries in their smoke detectors. That saved lives," Schroeder said.
"I feel that it was just our job to do that. It wasn't anything above and beyond. I think anyone in that same situation would have reacted the same way," Borkenhagen said.
The fire is still being investigated, authorities don't think there was any foul play. All of the families have found new housing.