Newark mayor helps rescue woman

April 13, 2012 at 2:46 AM
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NEWARK, N.J., April 13 (UPI) -- Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker entered a burning building next to his home Thursday night and helped rescue a woman, he and others said.

Booker and three members of his security detail who helped clear people out of the burning building were taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The mayor said he also suffered second-degree burns on a hand. The woman was hospitalized in stable condition with burns to her back and neck.

Booker told The (Newark) Star-Ledger he spotted the fire, which apparently started in a kitchen, in the second-story building next to his home when he arrived from a television interview and rushed in, followed by his security detail.

"We got everybody out of the house, but their daughter's screaming, 'I'm upstairs!'" Booker said.

Newark Fire Chief John Centanni said the mayor "was wrestling with his detail trying to keep him out of there," but Booker got past them.

The mayor told the newspaper he went to the second floor where he encountered flames and smoke.

"I suddenly had the realization that I can't find this woman." Booker said. "I look behind me and see the flames and I think "I'm not going to get out of here. Suddenly I was at peace with the fact that I was going to jump out the window."

At that point, he heard the woman crying in a back bedroom.

"I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker said.

They got downstairs and collapsed, Booker said.

The fire chief said it was "a very successful rescue actually."

"The situation could have been definitely a tragedy because it was just getting started," Centanni said.

Booker later posted an account of the events on Twitter and cited the heroics of his security officers.

"Thanks to Det. Alex Rodriguez who helped get all of the people out of the house," the mayor tweeted.

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