Woman, firefighter recovering after Southeast fire

WASHINGTON — A firefighter and the elderly woman he helped save are both recovering at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Northwest.

The fire started Wednesday afternoon along the 1700 block of Minnesota Avenue in Southeast.

“It was intense, very intense,” said D.C. police officer Willie Tabor. “Going up in there, in that smoke, hits you right at first, hits you right in the face.”

The officers were flagged down by a resident of the building. They got three residents and a dog out of the building.

D.C. firefighter Danny Lovato gave his mask to Phyllis Terrell, who was rescued from the top floor of the three-story building.  

Terrell, who before the fire was on supplemental oxygen, is now in serious condition but has shown improvement.

Doctors don’t know yet how long she will remain hospitalized.

Lovato is in fair condition and could be released from the hospital as soon as Friday.

“He had evidence of smoke inhalation which included soot in his airway, and he had some swelling,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shupp, director of the hospital’s burn center.

The soot and swelling are now gone, and though Lovato was initially placed on a ventilator as a precaution, he no longer needs it.

“All these guys are heroes,” Shupp said. “They do this every day, and this is just another example of the type of work that firefighters do.”

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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