Off-duty Calif. Firefighter Rescues Man from Fire

Off-duty CalFire firefighter Gerard Dumuk was passing the Oakland building when he saw smoke, and began his rescue effort.


Feb. 06--OAKLAND -- Three residents, including a wheelchair-bound man, were rescued by firefighters Thursday morning from a burning downtown residential apartment building, officials said.

The only injury was to the man in the wheelchair, who was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The fire erupted about 10:45 a.m. in the man's second-floor room at the seven-story building at 1445 Harrison St.

Off-duty CalFire firefighter Gerard Dumuk happened to be passing by, saw the thick smoke coming from the apartment and went inside and brought the man to safety.

Dumuk shrugged off his heroics, saying "I was at the right place at the right time."

Oakland Batallion Fire Chief Eric Logan said fire was started by the man smoking in bed. Logan said sprinklers activated in the unit, which helped keep the fire from spreading.

Two other residents on the second floor escaped from windows and were brought down to the street on ladders by firefighters. Other residents of the building were told to shelter in place, officials said.

Logan said the "high-rise response" brought 44 firefighters to the scene. The fire was controlled at 11:05 a.m. No firefighters were injured.

Logan said damage was confined to the one room and was in excess of $100,000. He said the apartment is uninhabitable and the resident was being assisted by the Red Cross for temporary housing.

Staff photographer Jane Tyska contributed to this report. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.

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