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Newark Mayor Saves Neighbor from Burning Home
Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, ran into a fire to save the life of a neighbor. When Booker returned home on Thursday night he noticed his neighbor’s house was on fire and rescued a woman who was trapped upstairs. He carried the woman through the flames and suffered burns of the second degree while doing so, according to CBS News.
The security team of the mayor discovered the fire and started alerting residents. This is when a woman said her granddaughter was trapped upstairs in the home. Detective Alex Rodriguez said that he would not let Booker enter the building but was dissuaded by Booker.
“He basically told me, ‘This woman is going to die if we don’t help her,’ and what can I say to that?,” Rodriguez said. “I let him go and without thinking twice, he just ran into the flames and rescued this young lady.”
Booker described what happened: “I actually wasn’t thinking. When I got there and couldn’t find her in all the smoke, looked behind me and saw the kitchen really erupting with flames all over the ceiling, that’s when I had very clear thoughts that I’m not going to get out of this place alive and got … very religious. It is a very, very scary thing. And I’d like to say that I, at that point I was feeling so courageous, but honestly, it was terrifying, and to look back, you can see nothing but flames. Look in front of you see nothing but blackness. Thankfully she started yelling out to me and I was able to find her through all the smoke. At that point I grabbed her.”
Booker did say that he was not gentle with the woman. “I just sort of threw her over my shoulder and dragged her through the kitchen.”
The only way to exit the house was through the kitchen, which is where the majority of the fire was at the time of the rescue.
“I was hoping there was going to be a window on the front, It was on the second story, I thought we could potentially get out, but that’s when I had a lot of clear thoughts about, ‘How we’re going to get out?’ I couldn’t see anything but the flames coming out of the kitchen and I really had this moment where I thought, ‘Okay. I think I’m trapped. I think we can’t get out,’” Booker said.
Booker handed the woman, who suffered second-degree burns, to Rodriguez.
“Detective Rodriguez grabbed her as well and we got down the stairs and we both just collapsed outside the building. I feel very blessed,” Booker said. “As the fire director told us, anything could have happened. Those things ignite so quickly, [and he's] very lucky to have gotten out there. Yesterday, all my problems were really big to me. Today things feel a lot more clear,” Booker said. “And I have a lot more respect for firefighters! As my chief staff and others were teasing me, I’m ill-equipped to do firefighter union negotiations – ‘These guys, give them everything!’”
Newark Mayor Saves Neighbor from Burning Home by Jim Vassallo