Melbourne school resource officer saves residents during apartment complex fire

The Mitchell Manor Apartment Complex on West Fee Avenue in Melbourne went up in flames on Thursday.

Darrin Brown, 27, is accused of using a lighter and glue poured onto a sofa to torch the building.  Brown is not only charged with arson but also attempted murder.  The woman in the upstairs apartment almost didn’t survive.

On Friday, FOX 35 News met the police officer who pulled her from the burning unit.

"I was 15 minutes later than I should’ve been. Obviously, that was for a reason," said Melbourne Police Officer Robert Smith.

Smith was on his way to work as a School Resource Officer at Melbourne High School, but he was already behind schedule to get there, so he responded to what he thought was a brushfire. Then, he learned it was a structure fire. When he got to the scene, he started helping people get to safety.

Both the first and second floors are destroyed.

The cost of damage to people’s property is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to officials.

No word on the motive for the suspected arsonist.