STUART, Fla. -- Jahwann McIntyre was the first person to take the stand Thursday morning to testify in the Joseph Haas arson trial.
Investigators say Haas set fire to a home under foreclosure in 2012 to keep the bank from taking it from him.
McIntyre was seriously burned after responding to the call.
He began by describing his orders to search the home for any victims, along with firefighters Scott Risk and Scott Cannon.
McIntyre said he was second in line in the search. He followed Cannon and Risk followed him.
While searching, McIntyre said that they came across a staircase and decided to go upstairs to search for victims.
McIntyre said the three of them crawled up the stairs and had no visibility once they reached the top. The smoke was so dense, McIntyre said he held on to Cannon's ankle so he wouldn't get lost in the hot room.
McIntyre then testified that in a snap the room lit up, became unbearably hot and he got separated from Cannon.
He described feeling fire burn his skin through his clothing. "It was bad. I couldn't see, I couldn't hear, I didn't know where I was. This room was completely dark," he said.
He described yelling for his fellow firefighters, "Don't let me die. Don't leave me here. Come find me."
McIntyre said he began to believe he would die when he felt a firefighter grab him. McIntyre, Risk and a fourth firefighter who came inside to search for McIntyre tumbled down the stairs to safety.
"Of all the pain I felt up there, I mean, going down those stairs was a relief because I knew I was out of the danger zone," he said.
McIntyre says nearly two years later, he is still going through therapies and treatments for his burns. He says he still needs surgeries on his ears, hands and knees. He cannot straighten his fingers.
Prosecutors showed graphic images to the jury of McIntyre's injuries shortly after the fire.
McIntyre also removed his shirt for jurors so they could see the lasting injuries such as scarring from the burns and skin grafts.
McIntyre suffered the most serious injuries. Three other firefighters were also injured.