FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida woman is feeling grateful after some neighborhood children, an off-duty firefighter and a police officer came to her rescue when a fire broke out inside her Fort Lauderdale home, Tuesday morning.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the house fire at Northwest 14th Terrace near Eighth Street, sometime before 8 a.m.
Neighborhood boys who saw the smoke and flames busted a window near trapped 29-year-old Precious Corn, allowing her to escape the fire.
“I was in the house sleeping, and I heard a big boom,” said Corn. “Once I heard the boom, I got up to see what was going on. I thought it was just my sister playing in the house. When I opened my room’s door, I seen flames and black smoke.”
In addition to the boys who helped Corn escape through the window, an off-duty firefighter and a police officer tried entering the home to help.
Michael Salzano, an off-duty firefighter, was driving in the area when he saw the smoke and ran to the house. “I turned the corner and saw a column of smoke,” he said. “Came through the backside, there’s a alleyway right here, and noticed a bunch of kids trying to get into this back window. They were breaking the windows frantically.”
The boys were trying to also trying to use fire extinguishers to help Corn.
Without any of his gear, Salzano and a nearby police officer entered the home. “There were three or four kids, basically saying that there was somebody trapped,” Salzano said. “So I went in the front door and got about 20 feet, and had to come back out because of the amount of smoke.”
Neighbors were worried because Corn lives in the home with her sister and three children. Fortunately, the children were in school at the time.
“Everybody started saying, ‘There’s smoke, there’s smoke,’ and when I came out, it was black smoke, just coming out,” said area resident Elizabeth Gonzalez.
Salzano said that smoke forced him to stay on the ground. “I was married to the ground because the smoke was so heavy,” he said. “Felt the couch immediately, went around the couch, got to about the door of the first bedroom, and at that time there was so much smoke, and it was so black and nasty, that I had to come back out.”
The smoke was too much for the police officer as well, who was treated afterwards for smoke inhalation. “He was just coughing and couldn’t get himself together, so they had to take him in,” Gonzalez said.
Eventually the neighborhood kids were able to break through the window and reach Corn. “I just want to thank them, jut want to thank them, very grateful,” Corn said. “By the grace of God, I got out safe.”
According to officials, Corn was transported to Broward Health. The police officer was also transported to Broward Health for possible smoke inhalation, and a firefighter was treated on scene.
All of those affected by the smoke and flames are expected to be OK.
The American Red Cross is providing help to the family.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is still underway.
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