First Responders Spotlight: RPD officers honored for helping family out of burning home

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Three Rochester Police officers on an unrelated call Memorial Day responded to a fire on Hague Street. They helped a family of eight out of their home, although one of the children pulled out of the home later died.

The Police Locust Club said the three officers no doubt made a difference on Monday in that awful fire, but the officers tell News 8 what will always stick with them is the 12-year-old boy who later died from his injuries.

Officers Mary Barnes, Andy DeMarco, and Brandon Mandurano said they didn’t don protective gear or second guess themselves, even in the thick smoke and flames.

“It was not really thinking, it was just an act,” said Officer Barnes.

Barnes said lives were saved when they acted, but the mood Thursday was somber. 

“Again, the 12-year-old is… it’s hard to focus on the positive when we’ve got the loss,” she said, choking up.

The loss of 12-year-old Chris Higgins-Maldonado is something the three said they’ll never get over. 

“Preservation of life is a priority for us,” said Officer Mandurano.

We asked Mandurano if more people could have perished Monday had they not been there. “I don’t like to think about that,” he said, “because it’s hard to think about the child that was lost.”

Officer DeMarco said the loss of the 12-year-old will always be with them.

“That’s the one that bothers us. It’d be a different ball game if we got everybody out of the house,” said DeMarco. “I’m just glad that we were able to save the people that we were able to save.”

The cause of that fire is still under investigation.

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