RPD: 3 officers assaulted at scene of apartment fire

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Police Department said three of its officers were assaulted at an apartment, which was the scene of a fire shortly after. The arson task force is investigating.

Some apartment residents were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and minor injuries during the fire at The Hamilton Apartments, 185 Mt. Hope Ave, on Monday morning. The officers were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“We never know when anything like this is going to happen,” Rochester Fire Department Lt. Jeffrey Simpson said. “We do have to stay vigilant and we have to kind of recognize maybe certain circumstances that that would happen in situations like this.”

RPD officers responded to a 911 call at 5:30 a.m. requesting police and an ambulance for an apartment room at The Hamilton. A man in the apartment who opened the door assaulted the officers with a blunt object, RPD said.

Police took the man into custody and noticed smoke coming from apartment number 423.

“When our companies got on scene, they went up to the fourth floor, they did encounter smoke in the hallway as they went down the hallway and got into the apartment they did have a fire in the apartment,” Simpson said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene in minutes and found a fire on the apartment’s fourth floor, which they extinguished with a hose.

Simpson said the fire was big enough that residents needed to be evacuated, there needed to be hose lines stretched and smoke traveled across the building.

“Obviously the safety of the RPD officers is of high importance to us and to them, but unfortunately it took us just a little bit longer to get into the building just because of and up to the scene, because of the amount of police cars,” Simpson said.

Simpson said fortunately the fire was under control in 20 minutes and he’s grateful that the Rochester Police were there to make sure the disturbance was taken care of for the safety of them and the other residents.

"We could have answered that door and the gentleman could have started with us, started attacking us. That is something that has happened in the past, but it’s definitely something that is always in our mind." Simpson said.

Some apartment residents were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Simpson said from a firefighter standpoint, if something like that happens they would back out right away, get themselves to a safe position and make sure other residents are able to evacuate safely.

Police said the arson task force is investigating.