When a fire broke out in a home in Lakewood, Colorado, in the early hours of Friday, a 5-year-old girl became scared and barricaded herself in an upstairs closet, getting trapped as the fire quickly spread throughout the house, according to the Denver Post.
At around 12:27 a.m. September 9, the West Metro Fire Department rushed to a home at 9921 W. Vassar Way after an unnamed, frantic mother called 911, claiming that her house was on fire and her daughter was trapped in a closet on the second floor.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, the father – whose name has not been released – was kneeling in the front yard “coughing and choking” after he had made several attempts to rescue his daughter from the burning house, but it was to no avail.
The entire house was engulfed in flames and smoke, preventing the father from reaching the girl on the second floor.
Although he was reportedly able to reach the stairs, the father had to turn back as the smoke became unbearable.
Firefighters David Dame and Seth Major “put on their breathing masks and gear” and quickly ran through the house using a thermal-imaging camera and into an upstairs bedroom where they discovered the girl trapped inside her bedroom closet.
“I was screaming, yelling trying to get her attention,” said Dame. “She heard me and answered me. I was able to give her to her Seth, who was right behind me.”
Initially, the child was afraid, crying hysterically and didn’t want to leave the closet, “but once we got her out into the hallway, we ran back to the front door, handed her off to other firefighters and they got her to the hospital,” Dame added.
The girl’s father was also transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Four family members were in the home when the fire broke out, but they all managed to make it out alive, according to CBS Denver.
Lt. Richard Klein stated that he was glad to have gotten the girl out of the burning house before the worse could have happened, such as the ceiling and the floor collapsing as “there was fire from end to end, top to bottom.”
Tom Richards, who is a spokesperson for the West Metro Fire District, said, “This is why you pay your taxes for firefighters. These guys will get life-saving medals. It was incredible work.”
When Klein learned that the two firefighters rescued the girl from her burning home, he expressed how proud he was that they all made it out alive as the “the whole back of the house from end to end and from top to bottom was on fire.”
“I’m so proud of them. Not to be overly dramatic, but five or 10 seconds can make all the difference.
“They were ecstatic.”
One of the firefighters told reporters that this is a prime example of why “fire drills are not just for school.” Drills should be implemented in the home so that children will know what to do when a fire breaks out.
“Children should know at least two ways out of their house,” the firefighter said. “Moms and dads should also set a safe meeting spot for family members to gather outside of the house.”
Authorities say the girl did not sustain any physical injuries after being trapped in the closet of her burning house, but she was transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation.
However, the hospital was unable to release the girl’s condition as her family requested privacy during this time.
The cause of the house fire has not been determined, but firefighters believe the fire “started from the back deck” after finding a “barbeque grill and a smoker.”
The incident is still under investigation.
[Image via iStock Photo]