WASHINGTON — When D.C. firefighter and paramedic Daniel Atlas saw a woman with her clothes on fire running from a neighbor’s house Monday morning, he sprang into action: Atlas extinguished the woman’s burning clothes and took on the house fire with an extinguisher until help arrived.
The woman, who lives in the 1300 block of Rittenhouse Street, suffered severe burns and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, said Vito Maggiolo, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman.
“If (Atlas) hadn’t been able to do so, the fire could have potentially developed into quite a serious one because of the considerable hoarding conditions in the home,” Maggiolo said.
Although the house fire was small, crews had difficulty navigating the home because of the hoarding conditions. Hoarding can make it difficult for firefighters to gain access to a home, operate inside and rescue occupants from already dangerous situations, Maggiolo said.
Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire before it spread to the second floor, however.
“In this case, we were lucky that the circumstances turned out the way they did,” Maggiolo said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Below is a map of the neighborhood where the fire happened.
WTOP’s Joslyn Chesson contributed to this report.