Three Dallas police officers rescued a family of four from a burning house while on patrol early Wednesday morning.
Two officers on patrol, Officer Arturo Martinez and Senior Cpl. William Regan, saw flames coming out of a home in the 700 block of West Red Bird Lane shortly before 3 a.m. They and another officer, Senior Cpl. Derold Thomas, kicked in the door when no one answered and got Lakeisha Harris and her three daughters out of the house.
"They just grabbed my kids, and they got us out of there in like 30 seconds, and it was just awesome," Harris said.
The officers said they had little time to get the family out of the home.
"We didn't have that long, because the smoke was getting thicker so we just went straight up," Regan said. "We saw the mom, we asked her how many kids she had, (and) we got them out as fast as we could."
"We all had some fear inside of us, but we had a duty to perform, and we did it," Martinez said.
She said she and her daughters were asleep when the fire broke out.
"You know, had it not been for these policemen coming by here and, you know, realizing that we were in the house, you know, we could have just slept right on through it," Harris said.
The Dallas police department awarded the officers a golden "Life Saving" bar on Thursday for "outstanding police performance in the saving of a human life and the display of a conspicuous initiative, capability and attention to duty, thereby earning respect and admiration for themselves and the department."
"This is truly heroic," Chief David Brown said during the award presentation.
Harris said Wednesday that she told the officers there was no way she could express her gratitude.
"And knowing how close we came to death -- that's the real shocker," Harris said.
But all three officers downplayed their heroic effort.
"I don't feel like a hero," Regan said. "The heroes are the people who sacrificed their lives for us to be where we're at today."
Investigators said the fire began around a metal fireplace and chimney.
The American Red Cross is assisting Harris and her family.
NBCDFW's Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.