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Off-duty Indianapolis firefighter rescues unconscious woman from fire

Captain Mark Baranko was returning home from the store when he came across the house fire


Indianapolis Fire Department

By Sarah Roebuck

INDIANAPOLIS — An off-duty firefighter is credited with saving a woman’s life after rescuing her from her burning home.

Captain Mark Baranko with the Indianapolis Fire Department was returning home from the store on March 13 when he noticed police outside a nearby house, IFD said in a news release.

Baranko slowed down as he drove by and saw flames coming from the second floor of the house.

The 15-year veteran of the fire department stopped and talked with the homeowner who said his wife was still inside the home on the second floor.

Baranko entered the home through the front door. As he made his way up the stairs, he encountered heavy black smoke. IFD said it was likely that Baranko couldn’t see more than six inches ahead of him and that the air was barely breathable.

Within a minute, Baranko located the unconscious woman in the doorway of the rear bedroom. He then carried her to safety, IFD said.

After giving information to the incident commander, Baranko left the scene.

IFD stated Baranko did not sustain any injuries during the incident.

IFD Chief Ernest Malone stated: “I am proud of the heroic efforts by Captain Baranko this morning. It is not every day that you are faced with a choice to risk your own life to save another, and when faced with that choice today, Captain Baranko willingly took the risk. Mark is a consummate professional who excels in his duties as an officer, a leader and instructor. We are proud to have him as a member of our firefighting family. Our thoughts are with all those affected by today’s fire and hope that the woman makes a full recovery.”