NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A 19-year veteran of the New Brunswick Fire Department is being hailed as a hero after he rescued a woman trapped on the roof of a burning building early Monday morning.
Lt. Tony Jones used a freestanding ladder to climb to the roof at 29 Easton Ave. after a fire had engulfed the building and blocked the woman's exit.
"When we pulled up, fire was visible on the second floor," Jones said. "I announced there was a house fire. We saw the woman in the window. I told my driver to get the ladder, put the ladder up. I told another person to get a line to start putting the fire out. He pulled the ladder, I helped them stretch the line and then I climbed up the ladder to assist her, carry her off the roof."
The woman was nervous about climbing down the ladder in the dark, but Jones tried to calm her down and guided her all the way to the ground.
One eyewitness who saw Jones ascend the latter to save the woman said, "He was a hero. There's no other word for it. He didn't hesitate for a moment and there were flames everywhere. How brave."
The fire department responded to the blaze shortly after 2 a.m., Fire Director Robert Rawls told TAPinto New Brunswick.
The bottom floor of the building was occupied by Welsh Farms Convenience store and Amsterdam Smoke Shop. The top floor had two apartments.
The fire was under control by about 5:45 a.m., but the cause of it is still under investigation, Rawls said.
By sunrise, the smell of smoke still wafted through the air and the debris from the house that littered the side alley was visible.
Two fire personnel were injured fighting the fire. One suffered a knee injury, the other cut his hand. They were treated at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and released, Rawls said.
The fire department was on standby after it had responded to what Jones called a small porch fire in another part of the city.
The fire department did not identify the woman.
When it was suggested that he was a hero for acting without hesitation to save the woman trapped on the roof, Jones said, "I don't look at it that way. It's my job. Anyone of us would do it."