HAMILTON (Mercer) — Two police officers are being credited for guiding a sleeping couple and their three-year-old daughter from their rooftop apartment to safety as a fire grew below them late Tuesday night.

Flames broke out in a porch outside the apartment above Palermo's restaurant on Klockner Avenue in Hamilton around 11:40 p.m., according to Hamilton police chief James Stevens.

The fire caused damage to the porch, stairs and the sides and interior of the building,  Stevens said.

Hamilton Fire District 2 Chief Christopher Tozzi praised officers Michael Stefanello and Anthony Lucidi for using the wooden stairway, which he said was already "compromised" by the fire to reach the apartment.

The family was fast asleep and was unaware of the fire, according to Tozzi, and Stefanello and Lucidi were able to guide the family to safety.

"This fire could very well have had a catastrophic outcome"  given the construction of the building, the fast progress of the fire and the time of the day, Tozzi said.

"The little girl, abruptly awoken and carried to safety by Stefanello and Lucidi, clutched her father and pointed to the emergency lights in awe, innocently unaware of how lucky she is to have the brave men and women of the Hamilton police division watching over her," Tozzi said.

Stevens said no one was injured as a result of the fire.

The owners of  Palermo's on their Facebook page said the restaurant was not badly damaged and hoped to open on Thursday.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

Response to a fire on Klockner Road in Hamilton
Response to a fire on Klockner Road in Hamilton (Dennis N. Symons Jr,MidJersey.news)

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