The quiet heroics of a Cinnaminson police officer likely prevented a tragedy on Saturday.
The Barton Court fire seemed like a pretty standard blaze. Crews responded quickly and got the fire under control. The heavy smoke did send a woman to the hospital with smoke inhalation.
But it could have been much worse, if not for Officer Frank Chiacchio.
Chiacchio rushed into the smoke-filled house and pulled the woman to safety, Lt. Tim Young said. She was disoriented and froze inside rather than leaving the home herself.
“It almost sounded like she was in shock. She had tried to open a door, which fed the fire, and opened another one, which fed the fire more,” Young said. “The house was apparently full of smoke.”
Chiacchio saw the woman wasn’t leaving herself and pulled her to safety. The victim, who was not named, was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden for smoke inhalation.
Chiacchio’s actions almost went unnoted because the officer himself didn’t talk about it, Young said. Instead, sergeants were discussing the case later Saturday evening and mentioned it.
The officer's younger brother, Moorestown Councilman Chris Chiacchio, said that's pretty typical.
The councilman said he texted his brother Saturday, after the fire, because he noticed helicopters hovering nearby and the elder Chiacchio's reply made no motion of his lifesaving afternoon: "Yeah, I'm working. There's a fire on Barton. I'll talk to you later."
"He's always been that guy," said the councilman. "He would be the first to rush into a situation like that, and then leave without any fanfare."
Young also praised Officer Chiacchio, a member of the force for 22 years, for his humility, saying, "He doesn’t walk around bragging, saying, 'See what I did.'"
The councilman said his parents instilled the family with a sense of community involvement and public service—to "give back, not sit back."
"(My brother) always wanted to be a police officer. It's in his blood," said the councilman.
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