Officer nearby fire scene pulls injured firefighter to safety
Firefighter Justin Costa was saved by California Highway Patrol Officer Geno Cortez and another firefighter while battling a blaze at a market
By PoliceOne Staff
MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — A firefighter is in fair condition after being pulled from a burning building Monday.
KCRA reported that firefighter Justin Costa was saved by California Highway Patrol Officer Geno Cortez and another firefighter after being burned while battling a blaze. Cortez, who was grabbing a sandwich from a nearby deli, said he heard fire alarms and went to check out the scene.
"I walked out of the store, went to the parking lot and that's when I saw a little bit of smoke from the north side of the store," he said.
Cortez said he jumped into action once he saw a firefighter get thrown back from the flames.
"He got on his feet, started screaming something," he said. "You could tell he was pointing inside that there was another firefighter in there. About another minute in, I see the other firefighter jump out. You could tell that he had been in the fire, his whole uniform was charred."
Cortez and another firefighter pulled Costa, who was alert and talking, to safety.
Cortez inhaled smoke and suffered burns on his hands, but is otherwise OK.
"Not everyone goes into a burning building like that," he said. "My hat's down to them, to my brothers and sisters in the fire department."
Firefighters fought the blaze for more than five hours before it was under control. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.