ROCHESTER, Minn. (KXLT) -- Local law enforcement officials were honored Wednesday afternoon at an awards ceremony inside the Rochester City Council Chambers.
Men and women in uniform were recognized for their efforts in combating drug abuse, child abuse and fighting fires and preventing suicides.
A Rochester mother and her children were trapped inside their apartment after a fire broke out in January.
Two Rochester police officers Aaron Penning and Shamus Ryan were the first to arrive on scene.
"We received a fire call," said Officer Aaron Penning. "This was unique. Because we received a second call from a woman stating that she was trapped in her upstairs apartment with her five children."
Penning and his partner, Officer Shamus Ryan, were recognized for rescuing the mom and her five young kids before fire consumed the building.
"When we arrived there, the fire department was not on scene yet and we new evacuation was our priority," Penning said.
The fire started around on Jan. 14 around 9 P.M. at the Hunter's Ridge Condominiums in Rochester. The main floor of the building was engulfed in flames and the second floor was covered in smoke, where the mother and her five children were stuck inside.
"We started calling to her and confirmed she was there," Penning said. "We could hear the children. We broke a window, were able to get the door open, and then we went into the apartment as far as we could. Once the window and door were open, the smoke was too thick to see. Hearing was difficult, but we knew we were able to get in far enough and reach the children and get them out."
The family was taken to St. Mary's Hospital for smoke inhalation, but no one had serious injuries.
"I think when you hear kids screaming that they can't breathe or anything, it's a fluid movement. Just, reaction takes over," said Officer Ryan.
The officers say, while they are honored by the awards, they feel they are only doing their duty.
"We wanted to make sure there weren't any people inside the apartments and then let the fire department do their job to get the fire out," Penning said.
Several awards were given out Wednesday afternoon by Chief Roger Peterson of the Rochester Police Department, with families, and fellow police officers in attendance.
These awards are given out every spring and fall.