COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs firefighter is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a woman from an apartment fire Saturday.
The fire broke out around 1:20 p.m. at an apartment on University Drive.
Firefighters from Station Eight said they were battling flames about 10 to 15 feet long with lots of dark smoke. With reports of someone stuck inside, they went in looking to rescue them.
“There was a person still in inside sleeping,” Battalion Chief Jayme McConnellogue said.
Processing the information from dispatch, the firefighters faced a fire that was rapidly changing, creating a dangerous situation for crews.
“A truck company went to the roof and performed vertical ventilation, getting a chain saw, cutting a hole in the roof, and letting all the super-heated gases out of the environment which makes it safer for the person they are trying to rescue along with the firefighters,” Colorado Springs Fire Chief Chris Riley said.
Before entering the apartment, Lieutenant Brian Vaughan said, he had 12 inches of visibility on the bottom, but once they opened the door, things changed.
“That smoke came down to the floor and we were unable to see. It was very turbulent smoke, so when you do open your eyes, you’re not seeing much but moving matter across your face in different directions,” Vaughan said.
Fighting against the elements and the clock, Vaughan went in looking for a sign of life.
“And one of our protocols is to call out, stop, hold your breath, and listen,” Vaughan said.
And that’s when he heard something.
“And at that point I heard a murmur, a whimpering, if you will, from what was then the victim that we found at the door. At that point she was obviously startled, a little bit hazy, she just grabbed on us and got her out as quickly as possible,” Vaughan said.