LEXINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Two Lexington police officers are being credited with rescuing sleeping residents and their pets as flames tore through their home in Lexington early Friday morning.

The Lexington Public Safety Dispatch Center received a call from a resident of Maple Street around 4 a.m., reporting that their neighbor’s house was on fire and “flames were shooting out of the windows,” police said.

Lexington fire and police units were dispatched to the scene and within a minute, two officers had arrived.

The two officers ran into the home to alert the sleeping residents of the flames and helped them and their pets safely evacuate the home.

Firefighters arrived soon after and battled the three-alarm blaze in frigid conditions.

The two officers who helped rescue the residents were transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation, police said.

About six firefighters suffered minor injuries, including some who slipped on ice and others struck by falling debris, according to Lexington Fire Chief Derek Sencabaugh.

Icicles formed on the fire department’s ladder and equipment, and crews had to deal with water lines and hydrants freezing up.

“Obviously the weather played a severe factor with this,” Sencabaugh said. “We had numerous fire hydrants that were frozen. We’ve had a lot of lines that were frozen.”

The spontaneous combustion of improperly disposed of oily rags caused the fire, according to a statement from the State Fire Marshal. The rags were found in an outside dumpster, where the fire started, against the garage along with empty linseed oil cans, intermingled with wood, paper, cardboard, and other trash, the statement said.

Damages to the home were estimated at at least $500,000.

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