SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah fire captains Paul Phillips and Mike Taylor aren't comfortable being called heroes, but Tuesday night their bravery saved lives.
Captain Phillips was off duty that night and happened to be in the neighborhood when he saw flames. Captain Taylor was one of the first on-duty firefighters on the scene. Flames were already shooting up from one of the woods of savannah apartment buildings.
"While we were pulling off the ladder we could hear a woman crying and screaming for help on the balcony," Mike Taylor explains.
Several firefighters went around back to fight the fire, not knowing a handicap woman was still trapped inside. So Captain Taylor did what he says any firefighter would do, he rushed to do what he could to help her.
"I didn't take the time to do what we've been trained to do. Something I have done for 17 years of being a fireman, which is fully get dressed. I didn't have my gloves on, I didn't have my mask on. These are safety things we do to protect ourselves from the elements and obviously it licked a couple of us."
Captain Taylor has second degree burns on both hands, and his right ear was also burned. Captain Phillips also has minor burns on his arm and face.
"There's a point you get to, you make a decision do we save them or let them die," Captain Phillips says, "and if you are a fireman, you cannot sit back and watch someone burn and she was actually burning and I made the decision we are going to give it all we got."
And that's exactly what they did, risking their own lives.
"I could feel the heat and you felt the woof as its following the air trying to get out." Captain Taylor added. "We pushed her to the ground since we couldn't get her up over the edge quick enough and we both had to bail."
Captain Taylor was already burned when he went back a second time and got the woman out. Captain Phillips performed CPR.
"I was on my 7th or 8th and she started choking and came to and she was starring at me a second and said did you get my cat," Captain Phillips explains.
Taylor adds, "We are happy anytime we can save somebody because it gives them that extra moment of life to either continue life and enjoy it with friends and family or do the little things they have to before they move on."
While these firefighters know their wounds will heal, they won't forget that night, but say they'd do this all again if they had to.
Republished with permission from WTOC-TV