MAHWAH, N.J. -- A trio of Mahwah police officers thought they'd evacuated all of the residents from a raging Mahwah condominium fire Tuesday afternoon when they spotted a 9-year-old girl on a third-floor balcony.
"We called out to her to jump -- and she did!" Lt. Jeffrey Dino told Daily Voice moments later at the Society Hill condominium complex.
"We caught her!" one of them shouted as little Sofya Doroshenko nestled into their arms after trust-falling backwards from the railing.
"Not a scratch on her," Dino said. "She's the bravest little kid I've ever seen."
"They saved my child!" mother Yulia Doroshenko told Daily Voice. "I don't know what to say.
"Oh, my God. You know, a child is everything," the shocked mother said. "I can't think about that."
The fire broke out on the second floor just before 4:30 p.m.
It quickly spread upward and out toward the exterior stairway, said Dino, a 22-year police veteran (The blaze later reignited -- it wasn't until 7 p.m. that it was completely doused).
"Pretty soon the third-floor apartment was fully engulfed," the lieutenant said. "That's when we saw her."
Sgt. Brendan Mullin, Officer Tom Solimano and Dino stood underneath and called for Sofya to climb over the railing and jump, he said. She didn't take much persuading.
They brought her to an ambulance, where she checked out fine -- as firefighters battled the smoky blaze, Dino said.
Moments later, Sylvia was re-united with her mother and stepfather.
"It's a pretty good feeling," said Dino, a father of three himself. "Actually, it's absolutely unbelievable."
Daily Voice Community Editor Joshua Jongsma reported from the scene.