A Mount Holly police officer was lauded as a hero yesterday for rescuing a disabled woman from her burning home.

Officer Andrew Cooke, 38, was on patrol shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday when he spotted flames coming from a house on the 600 block of Smith Lane.

"The garage was fully engulfed," said Police Chief Steven Martin. "He jumped from his cruiser, ran up to the house.

Emma Mecum, 87, who uses a wheelchair, was watching television and was unaware of the blaze. She didn't hear Cooke pounding at her door, Martin said.

"When he didn't get a response, he forced entry," Martin said.

Cooke wheeled Mecum to the curb, called the fire department and reentered the smoke-filled house to make certain there were no other people inside. The woman's grandson is a frequent visitor, Martin said.

"It's a good thing he got there when he did," Martin said. "She might not have been able to make it out."

Firefighters had the blaze, which spread to the house, under control by 11:34 p.m., a Burlington County dispatcher said. No one was injured and Mecum is now staying with relatives, Martin said.

Martin said he will nominate Cooke, a 13-veteran of the force, for a lifesaving award.