A San Jose firefighter badly injured in a fire response early Thursday morning is expected to make a recovery, Capt. Mary Gutierrez said Thursday afternoon.
The firefighter sustained "significant" burns to his left hand, as well as burns to his right hand, waist area and below his waist, Gutierrez said.
He has been resting without visitors all day Thursday until about 5 p.m., when he will be reevaluated by doctors, but Gutierrez said he has been awake and talking.
The firefighter was injured after attempting to chop a vent hole in the roof of a burning San Jose fourplex early Thursday. He suffered a badly burned hand when the damaged ceiling gave way under him and he tumbled into the flames, authorities said.
Anthony Young and a friend were walking by the complex in the 3700 block of Underwood Drive around 2:40 a.m. when they saw flames in the window of one of the apartments.
“We were walking by and saw flames in a window,” he told KTVU. “So we ran up to the door. We heard the lady screaming so we kicked the door in and she was able to come out. Then we went upstairs and started knocking on the doors to get everyone out.”
The woman suffered only minor injuries as she was able to rush out of the apartment moments before it erupted in flames.
“The window exploded,” Young said. “There were flames everywhere.”
San Jose fire captain Van Elgort lauded Young for saving the woman’s life.
“A neighbor (Young) was knocking on doors, getting people out,” Elgort said. “He actually rescued the first floor tenant and got her out…He saved her life. That’s where the fire started…she was asleep or unconscious and so he was able to pull her out.”
Arriving firefighters found the fourplex fully engulfed in flames.
“It started on the first floor and spread to the second floor and into the attic and the roof,” Elgort said. “It was a heavy fire.”
Elgort said the firefighter was burned while attempting to ventilate the blaze.
“It was within 20 minutes of our arrival,” he said. “We were trying to cut a hole in the roof, trying to get the fire out in the attic. Our firefighter fell into the attic space and was surrounded by flames. Thankfully, he was wearing his protective equipment and that saved his life. He has significant burns to one hand.”
The fire was knocked down at 3:38 a.m. Seventy firefighters, including mutual aid assistance from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, responded to the fire.
Seventeen residents were displaced by the blaze and we being aided by the Red Cross.
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