Woman jumps to safety as flames engulf building
FITCHBURG, Mass. (WHDH) -- A woman jumped from the top floor of a four-story building in Fitchburg as flames engulfed the building Tuesday morning.
The fire sparked shortly after 8:30 a.m. when an off-duty firefighter spotted the blaze.
The woman had been asleep. Her husband told 7News that when she opened the bedroom door, flames burst through. Surrounded, the woman begged for help.
"She was kind of leaning over, trying to get fresh air 'cause it was all black smoke billowing around her," said Fitchburg Fire Captain David Rousseau, who was off duty at the time.
"I just started breaking doors, trying to get everybody out," said Luis Ramos, who helped rescue victims. "The first thing was the little kids. I got the little kids out."
Ramos, who lives in the building, said he could not get to the woman who was trapped. The woman ultimately had to jump from the fourth floor.
"The fire department was not going to make it on time," Ramos said.
Captain Rousseau said firefighters were unable to get a ladder to the trapped woman.
"A high-tension wire snapped and fell on one of the firefighters who was carrying an aluminum ladder -- which isn't good, and it was still sparking. So they had to drop that, and at that point I think she had jumped," Captain Rousseau said.Everyone in the building was accounted for.
The woman who leaped from the fourth floor of the building suffered a broken back and punctured lungs. She was taken to a Worcester hospital. Five others were taken to the hospital with what are believed to be minor injuries.
A firefighter suffered minor injuries, but continued working.
The fire started on the upper floor of the building. A resident told 7News that he thinks the fire may have been started by an overloaded extension chord.
The injured woman's husband told 7News she is in a medically induced coma.