Neighbors noticed a house on fire around 12:30 p.m. on April 29, and quickly called 9-1-1. They were concerned whether the female occupant was home or not.
Lake County and Mt. Dora firefighters responded to the fire with reports of the house possibly being occupied.
The fire crews quickly arrived at the house in the Mt. Dora area and stretched hoselines to the house that had heavy smoke rolling out it. The second engine was able to catch a hydrant and lay a supply line to the first engine. A chief and other staff arrived established a command system and prepared crews for a search and rescue attempt.
Mt. Dora firefighters stretched a hoseline to the front door and attempted entry but the door was locked. To speed up they search, they made entry through a nearby window.
Lake County Engine 27, with a crew of two, made forced entry with a hoseline to support the search crew. As the crew on the hoseline made it to the fire room and quickly knocked down then fire, they switched into search and rescue mode.
Lt. Chad Eason was on the crew now searching for a victim and as he left the fire room, he came upon a bathroom and utility room. His flashlight picked up a glimpse of an unconscious woman covered in black soot laying on the floor.
“It seemed like it all happened so fast” Lt. Eason explains. “My partner and I were searching right and left and I came across her on the floor and reached out to her. She moved a little so I knew I had to get her out of there as quickly as possible.”
Lt. Eason, assisted by Lake County Firefighter Robbie Staab and Mt. Dora Firefighter Mike Gruetzmacher carried the unconscious woman out of the house and to waiting medics.
“This occurrence doesn’t happen every day in the fire service, but it is what we think about and train on every day” explained Lt. Brian Gamble, vice president of the Professional Firefighters of Lake County, Local 3990. “It is the ultimate accomplishment that we can provide the community we serve and it happened with a great effort and team work by our Lake County firefighters and Mt. Dora firefighters working in unity with a common goal”.
The woman was treated at the scene and flown by helicopter to a specialty trauma hospital.
Units on scene: Lake County Engines 27, 71, 20, Squad 72, BC 90, BC20, Bat. 52, 701, 702, Tanker 59, Mount Dora Engine 35, Staff 21, Chief 2