Off-duty firefighter rescues wheelchair-bound woman from fire

Capt. Leon Whitener had just gotten off work when he heard a fire call for a person trapped

By FireRescue1 Staff

ST. LOUIS — An off-duty firefighter came to a wheelchair-bound elderly woman's aid Friday.

KSDK reported that Capt. Leon Whitener, with the St. Louis Fire Department, had just gotten off work when he heard a call for an apartment fire with a person trapped.

"When I got there, there were people outside. I asked them if someone was still inside and they said yes," Capt. Whitener said. He and nearby resident Raymond Rayford rushed into the burning home.

"I heard hysterical screaming," Rayford said. "I ran right behind him. It was just instinct."

The woman was trapped and unable to escape.

"We had to lift her up past the banister to get her to safety," Rayford said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation; the woman is expected to be OK.

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