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Police rescue residents from apartment fire

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BATON ROUGE - Two police officers jumped into action when they noticed a building on fire during their patrol Tuesday morning.

The incident was reported shortly before 10 a.m. at an apartment building on 79th Avenue. 

The fire department says the two officers were nearby on unrelated business when they spotted smoke coming from the apartment. They alerted residents throughout the building and helped evacuate 15 people. 

"It kind of scared me and made me jump out of my sleep to see police officers knocking on my door," said Antonio Nichols, who lives in the building.

A fire department spokesperson said there was no doubt the officers' quick-thinking saved lives.

"The actions of the police officers just made this so much better, because they were able to get the life out first. Then, firefighters were able to concentrate on the property," Curt Monte said.

The two officers were being treated for smoke inhalation and taken to a hospital as a precaution, officials said. 

Investigators with the fire department believe the flames were sparked by a child playing with a lighter, who apparently set fire to a mattress. No charges will be filed, but the child will have to attend a program to learn about fire safety.

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