"He didn't have a lot of time," Malone Patrolman Nathan Preve said.
Scott Betters was asleep in his second floor apartment on Morton Street in Malone last week, when a fast-moving fire woke him up.
"The whole room was pitch black and filled with soot," Betters said. "The roof was like on fire, it was really hot and I could barely breathe."
Betters, who has an injured leg and needs a cane to walk, tried to escape through his apartment door, but said it was too hot. His only chance of escaping the raging fire was through a narrow window and onto a porch roof 5-feet away.
"I was like stuck in the window because I couldn't quite reach the roof area," Betters said.
"He looked like he was trying to get out, but also avoid falling," Preve said.
"He was just covered with soot, visibly burned," Malone Patrolman Nicholas Hebert said.
With Betters stuck dangling 20 feet above the ground, Patrolman Brian Miller, who was off duty, and a fireman found a ladder in a nearby garage. Meanwhile Preve and Hebert ran into the burning building to access the roof area in an effort to rescue Betters.
"I went out a window there and made it onto the porch roof and (Hebert) came over there was able to grab onto my coat and I was able to reach him from that direction," Preve explained.
Betters went into shock, leaving the officers to pull his body out of the window.
"I don't know how we would have gotten him out if it wasn't for the ladders, because there was no way we could pull him onto the porch roof," Preve said. "Just the distance and the porch roof being covered with snow and ice, it wasn't an area to be standing on."
After the rescue, Betters spent a night in the hospital where he received treatment for numerous burns and cuts to his back and arms.
Investigators say they will likely never know what sparked the fire because the damage to the apartment house was so extensive. They do believe it started in a ceiling above the second floor.
Many in the community call the police officers heroes, but they disagree, saying it was just another day on the job.
"I don't think we did anything that any normal human being wouldn't have done," Preve said. "You get into a situation like that, you do what you have to to make sure everybody is fine."
"I would like to thank them for the very efficient help that they showed and care that they expressed in their lives saving my life," Betters said.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
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Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
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Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
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Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
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Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
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Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>