A fire in an apartment building in Southeast D.C. early Wednesday sent six residents and one firefighter to hospitals and displaced 28 people, the D.C. fire department said.
A D.C. firefighter climbed a ladder 55 feet and was able to save a mother and her two sons, who were trapped on the third floor of the burning building.
Firefighter Chris Cunningham was modest about his role in the rescue.
"Everybody on the fire ground is key to doing their portion of the job, and it just so happened on that fire that it was my job to bring them down," he told News4.
The blaze on the 2900 block of 2nd Street SE, about a mile west of the Congress Heights Metro station, was reported about 7:45 a.m.
D.C. Fire and EMS Department members arrived within four minutes and saw flames coming from the second floor of the three-story building. A 21-year-old woman with a 5-year-old boy and 12-year-old boy were screaming on the third floor, right above the fire.
Cunningham climbed the ladder and took them to safety.
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Firefighter S. Thomas entered the building with a hose and worked to extinguish the flames. As she did, she burned both of her hands.
"My adrenaline was rushing so much, I didn't have time to think or feel anything," she said.
A teenager and another person jumped from a third-floor window to escape the fire. They were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The mother and her children were taken to a hospital, along with another resident, an 8-year-old.
Thomas, the firefighter who suffered burns was released later in the day. Her hands, with nails painted bright red, were wrapped in bandages.
She said she kept battling the blaze despite her injuries.
"I did, until I couldn't do it anymore," she said.
The fire was determined to have started accidentally, DCFEMS said in a statement.
The National Chapter of the American Red Cross is helping the residents.