Millvale police Officer Joe Spalick acted on pure adrenaline when he helped rescue three people from a fully engulfed house fire Monday afternoon.

“I was the first one on the scene, and I instantly saw the front porch in flames and thick black smoke all through the house,” Spalick said of the incident on William St., where homes are perched on a steep hillside.

“I couldn’t run up the steps because the fire was already shooting out but the neighbors were yelling that they thought three people were inside,” he told

Spalick darted up the neighbor’s steps and ran to the back of the house where he found two teens and a cat that had escaped to the backyard. He ushered them to safety and ran back to help their mother, who was frantically running in and out of the house looking for her purse and medication, he said.

Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze before it spread to neighboring homes, Millvale fire Chief Karl Cavanaugh said.

Millvale police Chief Tim Komoroski lauded the efforts by Spalick, a rookie officer who graduated from the Police Academy in August 2020 and joined the department the following month.

“He did a great job, as do all of our officers. Proud of them. He’s fairly new but well-trained. Didn’t hesitate and encouraged them to get out,” Komoroski told CBS.