Chicago Firefighter's Instincts Aid in Rescues

Chicago Firefighter Michael Piccolo said that training and instincts took over and lead to rescues under dire fire conditions.


The crew from Engine 56 led a line up the front stairs to fight the fire, but it would have been too late to save the woman if she was still inside.

They would later find out that the 80-year-old woman had lived on the first-floor and was able to make it out on her own.

Looking Back

Piccolo said that no one died because everything worked out perfectly. He gave much of the credit to the other guys on the scene working on the fire and stressed that it was a team effort.

"Sometimes you're just in the right spot at the right time, and that's all this was," he said.

Even though this wasn't his first fire, he said it was one he will never forget.

"I've been to a lot of fires and this is one that will never come out of my mind. It really hits home to think that was someone's whoever, uncle or dad, but thank God that he didn't die.

Despite having to go into the raging fire alone, he said that it was risk versus reward and that he would do it all over again.

"I wouldn't have changed anything I did," he said. "I think I did the right thing. I couldn't wait for water; I couldn't wait for another engine company. If I would have waited, he wouldn't have made it.

"I took the risk and it was worth it."