First responders make life-saving rescues during Burlington fire

Two Burlington residents are lucky to be alive after a remarkable rescue by first responders early Wednesday.

That’s after a devastating fire destroyed their Burlington apartment building early New Year’s Day.

“All we saw is a whole bunch of smoke,” said neighbor Shantee Watts, Burlington.

The 3 a.m. fire at 1115 Vine Street caused six injuries and displaced residents.

“When the call came in, they said there were people trapped,” said Burlington Fire Chief Matt Trexel.

Battling brutal cold, smoke and flames, Burlington Police stepped into action and pulled a resident from the basement. Firefighters rescued another resident trapped on the first floor.

“If we would have got there 10 minutes later, we easily would have had two victims,” Chief Trexel said. “There’s no way they would have got out of there.”

First responders spent more than four hours at the scene on Wednesday. They definitely kept a bad situation from getting worse.

Two firefighters, one hit by a falling ceiling, were among the six injuries. They’re doing okay. Of the four injured residents, two remained hospitalized as of Thursday afternoon.

“It’s terrible,” Watts said.

Investigators say the fire started in the basement. They’re working to pinpoint a cause.

Items piled outside detail the destruction and displaced lives: children’s toys, clothing and furniture. But quick-thinking first responders prevented any loss of life.

The American Red Cross is pitching in to assist two families displaced by the fire.

“We were very lucky that they weren’t hurt more, and our guys weren’t hurt more,” Chief Trexel concluded.

A lesson about teamwork after two remarkable rescues in Burlington.


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