MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul firefighter is recovering from second degree burns Monday after his fellow firefighters had to rescue him inside a burning home.
St. Paul Fire Captain Art Rodriguez remembers the moment he heard the fire chief call out the words: “Firefighters down! All hands needed.”
Rodriguez dropped what he was doing and ran, along with others in his crew, to help the fallen firefighter.
“We got guys piled in the front door, hanging onto a fireman,” he said. “All you see is boots.”
That was the scene at 8 a.m. at a house located at 1456 St. Albans St. N., where a firefighter fell through the first floor and into the basement – the place where the fire started. In order to save their colleague, firefighters had to navigate through thick smoke.
Firefighter Dane Lund described the rescue experience, which lasted some four minutes, as intense.
“He was almost suspended, with his legs up, and kind of holding on with his elbows.”
Lund led Engine 5 to the fallen firefighter and threw some webbing, which he kept in his pocket, out him.
“So we were able to crawl to him, throw it over there, over to him,” Lund said. “Sounds like he might have grabbed it, secured it to his shoulder strap. And we were able to pull him out.”
The firefighter, who doesn’t want to be identified, suffered second-degree burns on his lower left leg. He went to Regions Hospital to be treated. By Monday night, he was recovering at home.
Two other firefighters suffered smoke inhalation after losing their masks during the rescue. Another firefighter slipped on some ice that had formed outside from the water used to fight the fire.
“It’s a big effort by everyone involved, to make sure they go home every day,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez described the rescue as “the best situation it can be.”