WATCH: Police officers catch children dropped from apartment fire

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Birchwood Apartment Fire-54710709

DES MOINES – Officers with the Des Moines Police Department rescued three children in an early morning apartment fire on Tuesday.

Before evacuating, families were tossing their kids out of windows to save them, according to Lt. Rick Thomas.

The fire happened on the third floor of the Birchwood Apartments in Des Moines, at 3720 MLK Jr Pkwy.  The call came in around 3:15 a.m.  

The entire building is evacuated, power is shut down, and a few residents have been able to return to their apartment to get a few belongings.  The Red Cross is on the scene to help the displaced families.  

One resident allowed back in was George Bassette. Local 5 asked Bassette if he heard the fire alarms go off.

“I was asleep,” said Bassette. “About the time I woke up I saw the fire shooting from the windows, dropping from the windows. Police officers was banging on all the doors making sure everyone was out.”

Bassette says there is water damage to his bathroom and the ceiling in his bedroom fell out.

The fire was contained to the third floor and crews are working to put out hot spots, but the extent of water damage in the rest of the building is unknown at this time. 

There are no confirmed injuries at this time. 

Lt. Thomas says there were detectors in the apartment, but they were not connected to a system within the building.  He says, if the building had a built-in system, the residents could have gotten out in a more timely manner.  

The cause of the fire is under investigation.  

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