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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Two police officers retrieved a woman trapped on the second floor of her burning home Wednesday, police said.

The woman was inside an upstairs room at 8001 S. Norwood Road (3425 East) that was filling with smoke when two Cottonwood Heights police officers arrived around 3:30 p.m., Unified Fire Authority firefighters said.

John Lavato, an animal control officer with the department, said he was second on the scene after another officer, who had found a ladder in the yard, got onto the second story. The two used an ax to break through the window of a room and then carried the woman out, he said.

"She was getting kind of worried. I asked her to just calm down a little bit and (told her) we were going to help her get out as soon as possible," Lavato said. "We finally got it open and she was able to back herself out of the window."

The fire had made it impossible for the woman to exit the room into the main area of the house, according to Lovato.

The officer was a short distance away from the fire when it was called out and knew he could get there quickly.

"You have to just expect the unexpected," Lovato said. "Everybody was there working together, and it was just a good outcome. The lady was able to get out and we’re just grateful we were able to be there to help her."

The woman and a man who had escaped the home on his own power were taken to University Hospital to be evaluated. A cat also escaped the home and was taken to a veterinarian, said firefighter Chris Atkin.

Fire crews found heavy smoke originating from the garage upon arriving, Atkin said. The fire had also spread into the main living area, he said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation while crews busied themselves putting out hot spots, according to Atkin. A dollar estimate of the damage wasn't immediately available.


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