An off-duty Vancouver Police officer is being hailed as a hero after he helped evacuate a burning East Vancouver home early this morning.

Just before 6 a.m. PT, Sgt. Clive Milligan spotted heavy smoke coming from a home near Knight Street and East 28th Avenue. 

Milligan entered the home and escorted those inside to safety. 

Fire crews arrived soon after and put out the flames. 

"It's an amazing story anytime someone does something like this. He did the right thing and called 911 first and went well above and beyond the call of duty," said Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

"What he did was absolutely extraordinary."

Earlier in the day the VPD said Milligan wished to remain anonymous, but Chief Adam Palmer later named and thanked him on social media.

The owner of the home was not there when the fire broke out. She says nine people live in the building, but it's not clear how many the officer assisted. 

"I heard a bunch of yelling and apparently an explosion. I smelt the smell of battery acid," said resident John Campeau. "I opened my bedroom door and I could see the kitchen was engulfed in flames." 

The fire forced the closure of Knight Street in Vancouver near East 28th Avenue just after 7 a.m. PT. Police reopened Knight Street to traffic just before 8:30 a.m. PT. 

No one was hurt in the incident.