Man stuck in window, but escapes Ashland apartment fire

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A Hanover County man is lucky to be alive after getting trapped in an early morning apartment fire.  The fire broke out just after three in the 200 block of Henry Clay Road.

The 48-year-old man is being treated right now after being rescued by firefighters. Neighbors said the man was trapped on the second floor. He was actually hanging out of the second story window looking for help, but it wasn't until firefighters arrived that they were able to pull him to safety.

The flames broke out just after 3 a.m., and screaming drew neighbor Matt Kirby out in the early hours.

"I came outside and saw flames shooting out of the window, and the lady was outside saying the door was locked and she couldn't back in, and her husband was still inside upstairs.  We went around back and he was hanging out the bathroom so I got a ladder, but he said he couldn't get out the window, and there was smoke pouring out," Kirby said.

By the time firefighters arrived, the man had passed out, and firefighters had to work quickly.

"Our crews came in, and we went into a rescue mode where we kind of forget about the fire and go straight to finding the person," said Willie Jones, battalion chief for Hanover Fire.

The smoke was so thick and they needed a thermal imaging camera to find him.  They did and brought him to safety.

He was taken to VCU Medical Center for smoke inhalation and burns to his hands and face.

Kirby knows this fire could have been worse, and it led him to look out for his own family.

"I was actually going around and trying to look at what I had ... going around to make sure there wasn't anything unsafe," Kirby said.

And no matter the cause of this fire, firefighters are stressing the importance of having a working smoke detector. It's so cold right now and people are using a variety of heating sources, all of which can be fire hazards.

(c) 2010. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.