Newark Mayor Cory Booker arrived at his home Thursday evening (April 12) to find the house next door on fire, spokesperson Anne Torres tells the AP. Booker and two of his security detail rushed into the home to help the residents escape. He was treated at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns and was released around midnight.
Fire Director Fateen Ziyad tells the New Jersey Star-Ledge that Booker told him how he heard a woman yelling, “I’m back here,” and tried to rush into the building. His security detail was holding him back, but Booker yelled at them to let him go.
Booker gave more details to “CBS This Morning.”
“When I got there and couldn’t find her in all the smoke, looked
behind me and saw the kitchen really erupting with flames all over the
ceiling, that’s when I had very clear thoughts that I’m not going to get
out of this place alive and got … very religious,” says Booker. “It is a very, very scary thing. And I’d like to say that I, at that
point I was feeling so courageous, but honestly, it was terrifying, and
to look back, you can see nothing but flames. Look in front of you see
nothing but blackness. Thankfully she started yelling out to me and I was able to find her through all the smoke. At that point I grabbed her.”
Booker admits he was “not gentle” about it – “I just sort of threw her over my shoulder and dragged her through the kitchen,” which was the only way out.
“I was hoping there was
going to be a window on the front, It was on the second story, I thought
we could potentially get out, but that’s when I had a lot of clear
thoughts about, ‘How we’re going to get out?’ I couldn’t see anything but the flames coming out of the kitchen and
I really had this moment where I thought, ‘Okay. I think I’m trapped. I
think we can’t get out,'” says Booker.
But he punched through the kitchen, where Detective Rodriguez grabbed the two of them and they got down the stairs and collapsed outside the house.
Booker tweeted of the incident:
“Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got
the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok”
“Thanks everyone, my injuries were relatively minor. Thanks to Det. Alex
Rodriguez who helped get all of the people out of the house.”