USA — An Old Fort police officer and his father were seriously injured Thursday after they were trapped on the back side of an out-of-control brush fire and had to run through the flames to escape, authorities say. Chief Melvin Lytle of the Old Fort Police Department said Joseph Steppe, who has been an officer on his squad for a little over a year, and Steppe’s father, Philip, were burning brush on a hillside off Salisbury Avenue in Old Fort, when winds spread the flames into a patch of kudzu. The fire quickly got out of control and the Steppes had to flee through the fire. Lytle stated that Joseph received third-degree burns “from his left pocket to his right pocket” and up his front torso. Phillip, the chief added, sustained first-degree burns on his stomach. Both were also suffering from smoke inhalation. The father and son were taken by ambulance to Memorial Mission Hospital shortly after the call came in at 10:45 a.m. Lytle said they were both transferred Thursday afternoon to N.C. Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. Condition reports were not available at deadline. Ranger John Reese of the N.C. Forest Service said the fire burned 1 ¼ acres. On the scene were members of Old Fort, Crooked Creek and Pleasant Gardens volunteer fire departments; the N.C. Forest Service; McDowell County Emergency Medical Services; McDowell County Emergency Management; the McDowell County Rescue Squad; and Old Fort Police Department.