PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ten firefighters were injured while battling a high-rise fire in north Philadelphia.
Among the most critically injured was 40-year-old Michael McGuire, a former Philadelphia police officer for 7 years who later became a firefighter. He is a 5-year veteran of the department.
The injured firefighter’s air pack ran out of air causing him to collapse from smoke inhalation on the 11th floor. He was rescued by his fellow firefighters. Sources tell eyewitness news Michael’s dad is a former fire chief and his brother is a lieutenant in the fire department.
“I worked with his father who’s deceased now, a battalion chief, and I can tell you that the McGuire family is second to none,” said Commissioner Lloyd Ayers of the Philadelphia Fire Department.
“The fire broke out at 5:45 in the morning on the eighth floor of the Philadelphia housing authority building at 24th and Jefferson Street. It took firefighters a half hour to get it under control.
Hundreds of residents were evacuated for several hours, but most of those residents were allowed to get back into their apartments Wednesday evening.
Eleven units are uninhabitable so the Red Cross put 31 people in area hotels. The cause of the fire appears to be an extension cord in an apartment on the eighth floor.
One woman was trapped on the 17th floor with her son and grandson.
“We didn’t even think we were going to make it out,” said Janice Brown. “We really thought we were going to die up in there. We were swinging sheets out the window and the fireman that came up and rescued us. I just want to thank him from the bottom of my heart.
The nine other firefighters were treated and released from area hospitals. Three residents were treated and released as well.
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Reported by Valerie Levesque, CBS 3