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Off-duty firefighter tries to rescue neighbor

June 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
An off-duty firefighter, who attempted to rescue his elderly neighbor trapped in a burning home Monday night, injured himself.The off-duty firefighter was the first to spot the blaze at approximately 10:30 p.m. He immediately called in the fire and then rushed over to the home on the 1400 block of West Wedgewood to help his elderly neighbor.

When entering the home, the off-duty Anaheim firefighter was faced with heavy smoke. He ran through the house holding his breath to try and rescue the elderly woman.

When fire crews arrived they knocked out the flames within minutes. They quickly entered the house and got the elderly woman out.

The senior citizen was taken to UCI Medical Center after suffering burns to her legs and face. She also suffered from smoke inhalation and is in critical condition.

The off-duty firefighter was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and then was taken to the hospital. He is said to be in good condition.

"An off-duty firefighter made a repeated effort to get in and rescue the elderly lady. He was unable to get to her," said Chief Dennis Hambleton, Anaheim Fire Department. "He did not have the luxury of his personal protection equipment. He added great physical danger and harm to himself."

The blaze caused major damage to the home. Investigators have not yet determined what caused the fire.

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