“An old lady is living alone at the home on flames. She cannot walk easily by herself, and what are we going to do?”
There was a call to 119 (911) informing of a fire on a sixth floor unit in an apartment building in Jungsan-dong, Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province at around 12:59 p.m. on Sunday. A resident making the call was completely at loss what to do while looking at the apartment on fire.
Firefighter Lee Chang-joon of the Ilsan Fire Station’s 119 Rescue Team 1 rushed to the scene and there was no time to waste. The fire, which erupted on the sixth floor, was engulfing the entire 11-story apartment building already when the fire trucks arrived there.
When Lee opened the door of the unit and entered, he faced darkish red flames and thick smoke, and could hardly see anything. One of the rooms in the unit was almost completely reduced to ashes. As he took steps to a bed room without much expectation, he spotted an 80-something lady who was lying on the bed, unconscious. He immediately asked his colleagues to join him. Even without wasting any time to put an oxygen mask on her, Lee held her up using a blanket and walked down all the way to the first floor with six of his colleagues. “All I could think amid the flames was that I had to save her life.”
The old lady had burns on up to 40 percent of her body, and is receiving treatment at hospital. The firefighting authority mobilized 30 fire trucks and other equipment as well as 70 firefighters and put out the fire in about an hour. Two residents who escaped to the rooftop inhaled smoke before being rescued, but they are in stable condition. The firefighting authority believes the fire started at the sixth floor unit where she was living alone, and is investigating the cause.