Jonesboro firefighters rescue man during weekend fire

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro firefighters rescued a man's life while battling a blazing fire over the weekend.

Firefighters were called to the 1800-block of Self Circle St. in response to an apartment fire around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Holly Booker, a resident of the apartment building, was one of the people to call for help.

"When I came home I walked in and it was smoking," Booker said. "I went into my bedroom and at first I thought it was my water heater. So, I went and looked at my water heater and nothing was on fire, but there was just a whole bunch of smoke. So, I just immediately walked outside and called 9-1-1."

Jonesboro firefighter Cody Nelson said when they first arrived on the scene, they didn't see any smoke or flames.

"Got on the scene and there was no smoke showing," Nelson said. "Some of the people that live in the apartment were telling us they had some smoke coming up through the walls."

Nelson said he and fellow firefighters began searching for the cause of the smoke.

"One of the guys I was with, my captain Michael Parsons noticed one of the windows to one of the apartments was smoked up," Nelson said. "Tinted and blacked over from the smoke. So, we got our tools and forced the door. As we forced the door open we noticed the apartment was full of smoke."

It was when they were checking the apartment, Nelson said they found more than smoke.

"We walked into the apartment, and as we were searching for the fire we came across a victim, and at that point, we stopped the fire track and was able to bring the victim outside," Nelson said. "He was unconscious, but we were able to drop him off with a couple of firefighters outside and they started compressions. After that, we went back inside and continued the fire track."

Battalion Chief Brett Winstead said he then began working to revive the victim.

"When they pulled the victim out of the apartment, they laid him down and so I immediately started CPR on him," Winstead said.

Winstead said he was able to get the victim breathing again and he was then rushed to the hospital.

Nelson said they train on a regular basis in order to be ready for anything.

"We train all the time for situations like this," Nelson said. "We try to be prepared for anything we come across. And knowing that our training does pay off. So, when we do come across a situation like this we know how to handle it. Don't panic. We act and make things happen."

"This is why we train so hard every day," Battalion Chief Winstead said. "It's repetitive training. So, it's second nature."

Winstead said they try to be ready for any situation that might happen.

"We train for all aspects of a fire," Winstead said. "Fighting fire, medical calls, hazmat, everything. When you're in a situation, you're training will take over. So, you really don't have to think about it. You just have to react."

When asked how it felt to save a life, both Winstead and Nelson said they were all just doing their job.

Winstead said they had the scene secure within 30 minutes of the first arriving engine.

The victim was sent to a hospital in Memphis and his condition is unknown at this time.

A friend and neighbor reported he thought he was doing better.

Winstead said they believe the cause of the fire may have been the stove being left on.

For more information about the Jonesboro Fire Department, click here.

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