When a fire breaks out, most people go running out of the building. The brave firefighters are usually the ones that run into it. When there are no firefighters on the scene but lives that need to be saved, the victims hope someone else will help them.
When a fire broke out in an apartment building in Washington, D.C., some brave Marines were nearby.
They went running into the building to help rescue those who were stuck inside. Many of the victims were elderly and could not get out in time on their own. Marines were seen carrying out the elderly residents, as well as others who needed help.
Capt. Trey Gregory, one of the Marines who assisted in the firefighting efforts, said:
“We’re Marines. We saw a fire, we run towards the sign of danger. These are our neighbors, you know. We helped them out. They’re always there for us, so we tried to do that for them.”
The Marines were happy to help rescue their neighbors from the fire.
They knew exactly what they needed to do and didn’t hesitate to jump in and do it. Gregory added:
“We were throwing people over our shoulders, carrying people any way we possibly could. Taking their chairs — whatever assistance they needed, we were there to help them out.”
Gregory explained that it was a good thing the Marines were the to rescue the elderly inside because the fire took off and became bad really fast. He is afraid that the fire department might not have arrived in time to save them all. He said:
“It was a pretty bad fire, especially on the top floor. Some paralyzed immobile people in there. We actually just picked people up as best we possibly could and then had the wheelchairs at the exit and then put them right into the wheelchair.”
Marine Sgt. Mathew Cale explained how the brave Marines didn’t even hesitate to run into the fire and save everyone they could.
He said most of them didn’t even have to stop and think about it. He added:
“I don’t think there was really any thought to it. We were just saying we had to get these people out of here before anything serious happens and just the instincts kicked in to go.”
Firefighters did arrive on the scene to help rescue more people inside, put out the fire, and attempt to save the structure and the residents’ belongings.
They also acted bravely and risk their lives. D.C. Council member Charles Allen commended them for their bravery, saying:
“By the grace of God, we haven’t lost anybody. Our firefighters were amazing. Our neighbors were amazing knocking on doors. There is no question their efforts saved lives.”
Gregory is proud that the Marines were able to act so quickly and help those in need.
He insists that they were not being heroes but were just doing the right thing for some good people that they care about. He said they were just doing what they had been trained to do. He explained:
“It was definitely a situation you do not want to be in. But this is what we do. We’re Marines, and when we see a crisis, we respond. Whether overseas or right here at home in D.C., we didn’t think — we just knew we needed to act. That’s the Marine in all of us.”
The fire is currently under investigation, and experts are working to determine what caused it.
They also want to make sure the building was up to code at the time. A city official said:
“We’re looking to see exactly what this setup was there. Were there sprinklers, were there heat detectors, were there smoke detectors?”
Paul Carden, the regional disaster officer for the Red Cross, added:
“This is honestly one of the most significant disasters I’ve ever dealt with — as far as the number of people displaced, the age of the population, and the complexity that that presents.”
The community is hoping to help those who have lost their homes and their belongings and get them into a new home as soon as possible. The residents are all thankful for the Marines and firefighters who rescued them.
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