Cambridge Firefighters Recall Dramatic Rescue From 3rd Floor of Burning Building

Firefighters rescued a man from the third floor of a triple-decker on River Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after a fire broke out earlier this week

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Firefighters are recalling the dramatic rescue of a man from a burning building this week in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The fire broke out just after midnight Wednesday at a triple-decker on River Street. Crews arrived to find a man hanging out a window.



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Aaron Young says it was of one the most memorable moments in nearly 30 years of fighting fires.

"That's when we seen the person straddling the window, about to jump, asking for help," Young recalled.

The blaze started behind a stove on the second floor, and flames were shooting from the roof. The call quickly escalated.

"We had reports of a possible victim, that kinds of expedites the process," said firefighter Dan Nugent. "Everyone is going 110%."

A 24-year old man was trapped on the third floor at the back of the house. It was tucked behind other buildings and surrounded by wires.

Young and a colleague finagled a 35-foot ladder to the back, and Young climbed up.

"He was in a panic mode, and once I reached him, I could see the fear in his eyes, and he was telling me that he can't do this," Young said.

Making the rescue more challenging, the man was disoriented from breathing in so much smoke.

"He wanted to come out forward-facing, so I had to kind of twist his foot around and put it on the ladder," Young said. "I was able to talk him down and tell him that, you know, 'You're going to be fine, everything's alright.'"

"There are fires all the time, and, you know, in most cases, someone's being assisted out, but in terms of this type of rescue, they don't happen every day," said Assistant Cambridge Fire Chief Tom Cahill, who also responded. "[Firefighters] prepare for the worst, and this case could have been the worst, and I can't state enough, they did a phenomenal job."

It was the first time Young had to bring someone down the ladder. He remains humble that he saved someone's life.

"It's something to look back on and say, you know, 'I made a difference,'" Young said.

The man who was rescued was treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital.

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