A Montgomery County, Md. Police detective who had his children with him as part of "Take Your Kids to Work Day," rescued a woman from a fatal house fire Thursday.
Detective Mario Mastrangelo had his fourth and seventh grader with him during his morning commute when he saw smoke coming from a colonial-style home along the 13500 block of Jamieson Place around 7:20 a.m., according toWJLA-TV.
"It's always in you, that instinct to want to save someone," Mastrangelo, who works in the Family Crimes Division as a child abuse investigator, said.
The veteran detective followed the black smoke and slammed on the breaks to his unmarked cruiser when he came upon the fire.
A retired Montgomery County police officer was already in the front yard, accessing the scene. The two men grabbed a garden hose and sprinted through the front door and found the woman sitting in the kitchen, disoriented.
Mastrangelo, who was wearing a business suit and tie, said that the smoke was so thick that he felt like he was going to pass out.
"I told her we had to get out of the house, there was so much smoke, and you could feel the heat," he said. "I pretty much carried her out of the home. I wanted to get her out, she needed to get out."
With his son and daughter watching from his patrol car, Mastrangelo carried the woman's limp body, and her small dog, out to the front lawn. He and retired officer went back into the burning home to save her 65-year-old husband who was trapped in a bedroom above the garage, but the fire was too intense and they were forced to abandon the home.
"It hurts. I'm glad I was able to get the elderly woman out. I just wish I could have gotten both," he said. "It was tough."
Nine-year-old Daniela Mastrangelo said that it was difficult to see her father rush into a burning building, but that she couldn't be prouder.
"I'm pretty proud to know he's my father, and that he saved someone's life," she said. "It's pretty huge for me."