HOUSTON (KTRK) --A Mother's Day afternoon turned urgent, scary and uncertain for a mother and her children.
Authorities responded to Vista Verde Apartments in the 8700 block of Broadway near Morley street just after 5pm Sunday. Houston Fire Department declared the fire under control at 6:22pm.
Bianca Denson was at the apartments with her family when she felt heat under her feet.
"The only thing I could think of is my balcony and on the third floor that was more scary for me and I was more scared for my children," Denson said.
Two HPD patrol officers spotted smoke, flames and a woman screaming for help.
"We were still able to get up there but it was coming pretty heavy," Officer JJ Saldana said.
"The flames were rushing him and I had to hurry up and drop them down," Denson added.
Saldana's patrol partner Officer SJ Ticas was also there to help.
"As soon as we saw them up there he decided to climb up there so I secured his gun belt, he got help from a citizen," Ticas said.
Good Samaritan Kenneth Wilson helped complete the human ladder.
"He climbed on my back and I had to do a squat to raise him up so he can climb up there and get the kids out," Wilson said.
Eyewitnesses could feel the heat from the street.
"Houston Police Officers, coming to the rescue like that. Right on a moment's notice," Uber driver Jeff Lipsomb said as he passed by the scene. "Then the fire department coming in to get the flames out. That whole thing could have went up easy."
There was relief by all who were watching. It was an unpredictable day for police partners just two years on the force.
"It doesn't take too long for you to realize you're going to do a little bit of everything," Saldana said.
There was gratitude from a mom able to at least end Mother's Day somewhat like it started, safe with her children.
"God sent you all to me and helped me and saved my life and my kids life," Denson added.
Two more residents jumped from upper floor balconies to safety. Firefighters say two residents were transported to the hospital.
Investigators are searching for the cause and say about ten units were damaged. The Red Cross is assisting residents who have been displaced by the fire.