Marines help rescue dozens during fire at a Washington DC apartment complex for the elderly
Marines in Washington D.C. ran towards an apartment fire at a senior citizens' housing facility to aid firefighters in their rescue efforts.
As if protecting the country by serving overseas wasn't enough, US marines in Washington DC helped save the lives of dozens of senior citizens from an apartment fire at the Arthur Capper Senior Public Housing building this Wednesday.
According to ABC News, the marines were not even wearing fire-retardant gear but sprinted towards the two-alarm fire at the building without any concern for their own well-being. They were aided in their task by firefighters who also banded together to scour the building for those needing help.
Marines from 8 and I running towards the fire raging in SE DC. pic.twitter.com/4vSKsuyTGo— Lyndsey Medsker (@lmedsker) 19 September 2018
The Marines who responded were reportedly from a barracks located just down the street from the burning building, with footage of the scene showing fire raging through the roof of the residence.
Speaking about the incident at a press conference, fire chief Milton Douglas said that the firefighters had to climb ladders to enter and search for residents in the four-story apartment.
In a statement released on Facebook, the 'Marine Barracks Washington 8th & I' wrote, "This afternoon when a fire broke out at an apartment complex for the elderly in Southeast D.C., Barracks Marines immediately responded to assist local fire departments. Marines rushed into the building to rescue those who needed assistance and evacuated residents to the Marine Barracks Washington Annex where they were checked and treated for any injuries and sheltered until their loved ones arrived."
Speaking to CBS Evening News, a marine explained why they had run to the senior citizens' aid, "These are our neighbors. They needed help, so we had to act."
The fire was about 200 yards away from their small outpost in downtown Washington D.C., and when they got to the scene, a construction worker had told them that there were people trapped within the building.
A deep sense of gratitude goes out to #DCsBravest tonight. As a fire took over the homes of our seniors, they fought the flames and withstood the smoke to save lives. Thank you. Our city honors you. pic.twitter.com/M5EmXXdIkf— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) 20 September 2018
"He told us there were more people in there, and that's when the Marines decided that we need to go in there and get them," a Marine said, with another similarly adding, "I don't think there was really any thought to it. We needed to get these people out of there before anything serious happens and that instinct kicked in to go."
While there were firefighters and other neighbors at the scene, the Marines were the youngest and the fittest. They would go up to the fourth floor, where several senior citizens — including those paralyzed and in wheelchairs — were trapped, and carry them down the flights of stairs to safety. Because of their efforts, only six residents had to be sent to the hospital for further treatment.
Mayor Muriel Bowser thanked their efforts in a Twitter post, writing, "A deep sense of gratitude goes out to #DCsBravest tonight. As a fire took over the homes of our seniors, they fought the flames and withstood the smoke to save lives. Thank you. Our city honors you."