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Delray Beach firefighters share how they rescued a woman trapped in a burning home

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 19:09:33-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. -- When Delray Beach Fire Captain Chris Zidar and firefighter Calvin Smith arrived at a house fire just down the street from their station, they knew they would have to approach this fire differently. 

"As I was going to do a 360 of the structure, I got met by family members who said somebody was still inside and trapped so from there we switched tactics and went to what’s called a vent, enter, search," said Captain Zidar. 

Other units were still on the way; Captain Zidar quickly decided they were going to break through a bedroom window to get to the woman trapped inside. 

"It was completely black, full of smoke, couldn't see anything. We started a search pattern in there and within 30 seconds found her unconscious and unresponsive on the floor," said Captain Zidar. 

Captain Zidar thinks she may have been overcome with smoke trying to get out. Firefighter Smith said in the months he's been with Delray Beach Fire Rescue, this fire put his training to the test. 

"This is absolutely the most intense response," said Smith. "The adrenaline going on, all the excitement, just trying to revert to all that you’ve been trained to do." 

Minutes after carrying the woman out, they say flames spread into the bedroom. What held the fire back for so long was a closed door. 

"If her bedroom door hadn't been closed, the fire would have spread in there immediately and probably would have been a very different outcome," said Captain Zidar. 

A home destroyed, a family displaced, but no lives lost.

"Saved a life. it's not every day that you get to save a life," said Smith.

The spokesperson for the Delray Beach Fire Rescue said the woman is in stable condition at the hospital. No word yet on what caused the fire.