Firefighters recount rescue of woman, cat from burning DC apartment

WASHINGTON — A group of D.C. firefighters are being hailed as heroes, after they rescued an elderly woman and her cat from a burning apartment.

Shortly before 8 a.m. Monday, firefighters received 911 calls after smoke and flames erupted from an apartment in a building on the 3100 block of Bladensburg Rd. in Northeast D.C.

When D.C. firefighters Lt. Scott Martin and Sgts. Benjamin Evers and Zakarij Wright arrived to the building, they rushed to the seventh floor and forced their way into the apartment.

“There was basically zero visibility in the apartment,” Martin said. “There was a fair amount of flames in the bedroom.”

As they searched for the source of the fire through the dense smoke, one of the firefighters spotted a woman on the floor.

“The smoke was luckily kind of banked down to our knees so when we got real low to the floor we could see her,” Martin said. The woman couldn’t speak and was badly burned, but the rescuers said she was grunting which indicated to them she was alive.

Fighting back the flames, the first responders rushed the woman out of the apartment and down the stairs to a waiting ambulance.

After the woman was safe, Evers spotted a cat on the balcony. The animal was injured and scared, but Evers said he said he was able to put the animal in a carrier and get it out of the apartment.

The woman remains in the hospital and is in stable condition, according to authorities. Animal Control was called to help the cat, and the animal is expected to survive. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental, fire officials said.

Evers said firefighters receive many calls to this particular building, which is home to many elderly residents, and it was their knowledge of the building’s layout and their training which made the difference.

“No one sees anybody as heroes,” Evers said. “We were doing our duty, and it was being in the right place at the right time.”

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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