ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two police officers rescued three men from a burning house in Elizabeth on Wednesday afternoon.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, Officer Jorge Hidalgo first saw the billowing smoke around 1:30 p.m.

“He sees the smoke, he follows the smoke, he calls it in,” said fellow Officer Derrick Cheatham, who was nearby when the call came in and rushed to help Hidalgo.

“We got here. He went to the front. He started kicking on the door. We weren’t sure if anybody was in the house. I ran around the back and yelled out, ‘Anybody home?'”

Two plumbers, apparently unaware of the fire, came out from the basement. Cheatham also found the two-story home’s owner and rushed him to safety.

Fire Chief Curtis Merrill said flames were shooting out of the rear of the building and the attic. News 12 New Jersey reported that two firefighters were injured in the three-alarm blaze.

“We always worry about the life hazard first,” Merrill told Putney.

It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the blaze just before an elementary school across the street let out for the day.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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