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Neighbor, volunteer firefighter may have helped save woman trapped in burning mobile home

By Howard B. Owens


When Bergen Assistant Chief Garrett Dean arrived on the scene of a structure fire at 84 Woodside Lane, in the Hidden Valley Meadow Park, Thursday night, he observed a mobile home with flames shooting out of one corner of the residence and was informed by a neighbor that a woman may be trapped inside.

The neighbor said he had tried kicking in the front door but the door was blocked, possibly by the woman who lived there.

Dean said he was able to reach around the door, grab her and carry her to safety with the help of the neighbor.

"They said they talked to the neighbors and the neighbors said they were pounding on the door, but couldn't get a reply," Dean said. "I believe the neighbor that was pounding on the door was the one that actually kicked the door in and when I got on location helped me get her out."

At first, the woman wasn't breathing, Dean said. With the assistance of the neighbor, he used first-aid techniques to get her breathing again.

It felt like minutes but was probably only about 30 seconds, he said.

The resident, whose name has not been released, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital but Dean said he's been informed she may be transferred to Syracuse for a higher level of treatment for her smoke inhalation.

"She was very lucky," Dean said. "It's a good thing this is a very tight-knit community. They're all older adults that live here and they take very good care of each other."

Departments from three counties responded to the fire.

The cause and origin of the fire is under investigation.

A firefighter at the scene also needed treatment at the scene for minor smoke inhalation but remained on scene following treatment.

Top photo: Reader-submitted.  Bottom photos, Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

Alecia Kaus/Video News Service contributed to this story.



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